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Reforms to boost Sino-EU ties

By Julia Marie Ewert | China Daily | Updated: 2013-11-21 07:14

In advance of today's EU-China summit in Beijing, European leaders possibly have been studying the reform package agreed at the Third Plenum last week. Following initial disappointment at the rather vague communiqu, the details published in recent days have been more positive and have set the stage for a successful meeting.

The major reform package announced at the Third Plenum of the 18th Communist Party of China Central Committee will not only change the lives of Chinese people but also impact relations between China and the European Union in many ways. Among the reforms that will have a direct impact on relations between the two sides is the much-cited commitment to give the market a "decisive" role in the economy. Together with some of the other reforms - such as the pledge to better protect intellectual property rights and to decrease the number and size of State-owned enterprises - it would bring the Chinese economy closer to fulfilling the criteria of a market economy. The EU's refusal to grant market economy status to China has strained relations in recent years. Now it looks like a solution is in sight. At the very latest, China will receive market economy status in 2016.

Equally important for EU-China relations are two-way investments. China's new leadership have emphasized the need to further stimulate Chinese investment abroad and foreign investment in China. The reforms will create a more stable environment for investors in China. Today's summit will launch negotiations for an investment agreement between the China and the EU which should provide for greater protection of investment and market access. China's share of foreign direct investment in Europe accounted only for 2.2 percent in 2012 while the EU accounted for 20 percent of the FDI in China.

Reforms to boost Sino-EU ties

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