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China Daily Website

EU-China ties 'positive, dynamic'

Updated: 2012-04-30 20:38
( Xinhua)

BEIJING - The current relationship between the European Union (EU) and China is characterized by "very positive and dynamic" momentum, said Ambassador Markus Ederer, the head of EU Delegation to China ahead of Chinese Vice-Premier Li Keqiang's trip to Europe.

Li is scheduled to arrive in Belgium on Tuesday after his official visits to Russia and Hungary. In Belgium, the vice premier will visit the EU headquarters in Brussels and meet with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.

"2012 is a good year," Ederer said during an interview with Xinhua, highlighting high-level interactions between China and the EU. In addition to the 14th China-EU summit held in Beijing earlier this year, the two sides have seen a flurry of visits going both ways in recent months.

"Between January and July, we have one commissioner every month coming to China," said the EU ambassador.

Ederer said that although the EU and China may sometimes have some differences in competitive markets, they are partners rather than rivals. "This is the important point."

"We see a growing interdependence between the EU and China," said the EU ambassador, adding that there is active interest on both sides in being a positive force in each other's domestic development.

Quoting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Ederer said, "If we help (the debt-ridden) Europe, we are also helping ourselves."

"It's a two-way street. We also feel that if Europe supports China, Europe supports itself," he added.

Currently, the EU is China's largest trading partner and biggest export market, and China is close to being the EU's biggest trading partner. Bilateral trade volume hit $567 billion in 2011.

The EU and China are highly complementary, said the EU ambassador, adding that the EU can be of help as China implements its 12th Five-Year Plan (2011-2015) in pursuit of sustainable economic development and more social inclusion.

"The (European) debt crisis has made both sides better understand how interdependent they are," Ederer said, adding that with the vigorous measures it has taken, Europe will exit the crisis, "although it's difficult to say when."

Ederer said Vice-Premier Li's visit to Europe is "crucial" for the EU-China relationship. During his stay in Brussels, Li will attend a high-level urbanization forum and an energy meeting.

Ederer said urbanization is a trend in China as well as throughout the whole world, and many challenges may emerge as a great number of people are moving to cities.

"Europe, on the other side, has urbanization of more than 70 percent already," said the ambassador, adding that the EU is ready to share relevant expertise with China.

"Energy security is a global challenge we are all facing, and China and the EU are looking for sustainable solutions for both demand and supply questions," Ederer said.

Besides these two particular issues, Ederer said he also looks forward to closer cooperation between the EU and China on mutual investment, agriculture and food security, water resources, and nuclear security, among others.

"Both are interested in more mutual direct investment and intend to conclude an investment treaty," said the ambassador.