BRUSSELS -- The European Union (EU) Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson left for China Friday on a three-day visit to prepare the first high-level trade dialogue between the two trading powers.
During his visit, Mandelson planned to have his first meeting with the new Chinese Minister of Commerce Chen Deming, aiming to take forward the establishment of an EU-China High Level Economic and Trade Mechanism, the commission said in a press release.
The mechanism, which was agreed at the last EU-China Summit in November, is designed for vice-premier level discussions on strategies in EU-China trade, investment and economic cooperation, and to coordinate bilateral projects, studies and develop plans in priority sectors.
It will cover issues affecting the trade imbalance, including effective market access, intellectual property rights, environment, high technology and energy, among others.
Statistics with China's Ministry of Commerce indicated China's surplus with the EU, China's largest trading partner, reached US$134 billion in 2007.
The commission said Mandelson and Chen will discuss the scope of the mechanism's work and its initial focus.
"The EU wants to build an engagement with China that focuses on our joint strategic interests and deepens the trust required to raise and resolve trade differences constructively and quickly," Mandelson said in a statement ahead of his visit, "This sense of partnership built on mutual interest will underlie the new High Level Mechanism."
The commission said the mechanism is expected to be formally launched in the spring.