The European Union (EU) acknowledges China as a new global trade force,
saying it is essential the two regions manage to strike the right balance.
"China is having a major impact on every part of the global economy. It will
be felt in people's daily lives, from the cost of petrol to the price we pay for
our clothes," the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, said in a policy
paper issued in Strasbourg, France, yesterday.
Entitled "EU-China: Closer Partners, Growing Responsibilities," the 10-page
document expounds on the importance of developing EU-China relations, the
increasing strength of China, and the policies and measures the EU would adopt
to boost ties.
This is the sixth policy paper that the commission has issued on EU-China
relations. It is also the first China policy paper released by the current EC,
headed by President Jose Manuel Barroso.
Europe wants China to be "stable, prosperous and an open economy," and to do
that, it said, China needs to rely less on exports for growth and help increase
domestic demand by unlocking consumer and business spending power.
Europe reportedly had a US$133 billion trade deficit with China last year.
The EU is China's largest export market.
Trade relations have not developed smoothly though, with Europe criticizing
"unjustifiable" barriers to trade that European companies face, and increasingly
slapping anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese firms.
Earlier this month, the EU agreed to impose duties of 16.5 per cent on
leather shoes from China for two years, in a decision the Ministry of Commerce
said lacked "sufficient legal and factual evidence."
China's Aokang Group has begun legal action to contest the EU decision,
becoming the country's first shoemaker to do so, the company said yesterday.
Aokang Group, China's largest privately-owned shoemaker, has retained a
lawyer to file the suit on the grounds that the tariffs on Chinese shoes violate
EU laws, it said in a statement on its website.
Despite trade frictions, prospects for co-operation in all sectors remain
French President Jacques Chirac, who arrives in Beijing today for a four-day
visit, said "the success of China fascinates, and impresses."
"It is perceived today as one of the countries, if not the country, whose
evolution will most affect the world of tomorrow," he said in an interview with
Xinhua News Agency.