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China, EU agree on free trade, more co-op

Updated: 2013-10-25 16:18
( Xinhua)

BRUSSELS - China and the European Union (EU) on Thursday agreed to push forward China-EU relations by fighting against protectionism, sticking to an open market and strengthening bilateral cooperation, Chinese Vice-Premier Ma Kai said.

Ma made the announcement after co-chairing the China-EU High-Level Economic Dialogue alongside EU Vice-President Olli Rehn and EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht.

The two sides also made a commitment to prudent use of trade remedy measures, Ma said during a press conference following the meeting.

When dealing with trade frictions, China and the EU agreed to turn to dialogue and consultation first, Ma said.

The commitment came months after the two major economies solved the solar panel trade dispute, involving more than $20 billion of Chinese exports.

On the China-EU investment agreement, Ma said: " We are happy to see the European Commission has got the mandate for negotiations, and are willing to accelerate the process of investment cooperation."

The two sides also agreed to step up cooperation on customs, quality inspection, intellectual property rights protection and civil aviation, and expand their cooperation into areas such as urbanization, innovation, energy saving and environmental protection.

China and the EU also agreed to make substantive progress in high-technology trade cooperation, said a statement released after the meeting by the Chinese delegation.

China hopes that the EU will take earnest measures to make sure Chinese investors going to Europe have easier access to visas and work permits, Ma added.

In a written interview with media, China International Trade Representative Zhong Shan said: "Since 2012, the EU has more frequently used trade remedy measures with more extensive coverage."

In addition to the solar panel case, which affected about 7 percent of China's total export to the EU, the EU is also considering mounting an ex-officio anti-dumping and countervailing investigation against Chinese wireless telecom equipment, Zhong said.