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EU-China summit to set out plan for next decade

Updated: 2013-11-14 21:08
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - The upcoming China-European Union (EU) summit will look to agree a plan for bilateral ties covering the next decade, EU Ambassador to China, Markus Ederer, told Xinhua in an exclusive interview Thursday.

"We believe this is the time to look far and ahead and try to agree on a strategic plan," Ederer said.

This year marks the tenth anniversary of the establishment of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. The annual summit scheduled for next Thursday in Beijing is the first such summit after China's leadership transition in March.

"We will set the tone for the next ten years. The leaders will get to know each other, they will trust each other's sustainable development model," he said.

The summit is also expected to launch talks for a China-EU investment agreement, which would be the EU's first stand-alone investment agreement.

The agreement is expected to streamline the existing bilateral investment protection agreements between China and the bloc's member states into a single and coherent document.

"At this time, nobody can say how long the negotiation will take. But both sides are ambitious," Ederer said, proposing the two sides discuss investment protection, market access and equal national treatment.

Although the EU has become the largest trade partner of China, two-way investment remains low, representing less than 3 percent of both sides' total foreign direct investment.

"If we succeed, our ambition is to open as many sectors as possible for both sides," he said.

Ederer also said lessons had been learned from the EU's year-long anti-dumping case on Chinese photovoltaic power systems.

"The first lesson both sides have learned is that two of the biggest trading partners in the world can settle such important disputes amicably and through negotiation," he said.

The case, worth 20-billion-U.S. dollars, was settled following hard negotiation on price and quota, curbing the breakout of a trade war.

Senior officials from the EU and China have discussed possibilities of establishing an early warning system to avoid such disputes, although it is not necessarily at the top of the summit's agenda, according to the ambassador.

He also urged the two sides to adjust internal industrial supplies while "both have an interest to mitigate protectionism."

On the EU-China cooperation in urbanization, Ederer hailed European companies' experience in energy-saving buildings, public transport, waste and water treatment.

"There's huge potential for EU companies. In fact, since urbanization covers the whole of China, the potential is as big as China, and China is big," he said.

However, such cooperation is mutually beneficial. China's experience in building new and energy-saving cities could also help improve Europe's established cities.

During the summit there will be the signing of a large number of paring agreements on sustainable urbanization between European and Chinese cities, according to Ederer.

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