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Nation expects EU to be largest trading partner
( 2003-10-14 07:48) (China Daily)

China expects the European Union (EU) to become its largest trading and investment partner in the next five years.

And the country is urging the EU to properly address irrational restrictions and technical barriers towards China, and ease restrictions on high-tech exports in line with WTO rules.

The Chinese Government made this appeal yesterday in its EU Policy Paper, which expounds on the objectives of China's EU policy and outlines plans and measures on bilateral co-operation in the coming five years.

This is the first strategy document China has ever made on its policy towards the EU.

The 14-page paper highlights prospects and measures of China's co-operation with the EU in various fields including politics, military, economy, education, science, culture, social and judicial aspects.

Over the past eight years, the EU has issued its China strategy paper five times.

In its paper, the country calls upon the EU to grant a "full market economy status'' at an early date, reduce and abolish anti-dumping and other discriminatory policies and practices aimed at China, and apply the Transitional Product-Specific Safeguard Mechanism (TPSSM) prudently.

Currently, the EU is China's third biggest trading partner and vice versa. Statistics show the trade volume between China and the EU hit US$86.76 billion last year.

The paper said to achieve the objective of elevating the EU into China's largest trading and investment partner, the two sides should take measures to improve their economic relations over the next five years such as to give play to the mechanism of an economic and trade joint committee and a stepped up economic and trade regulatory policy dialogue.The two should also boost China-EU co-ordination and co-operation in the new round of WTO negotiations and work together for the success of the negotiations and to strengthen dialogue on investment, promote the establishment of bilateral investment-promotion institutions, energetically encourage and guide mutual investments between enterprises of the two sides, and expand co-operation between small and medium-sized enterprises.

China welcomes more EU aid, especially in such fields as environmental protection, poverty-alleviation, public health and hygiene, and education. China also welcomes a stronger and more active role of the EU in human resources development, in particular, personnel training for China's central and western regions and the build-up of China's capacity for participating in multilateral trading regimes, the paper said.

In financial aspects, the paper says China welcomes expansion of China-related businesses by banks in the EU countries and hopes to see an appropriate settlement of the issue of Chinese financial institutions' gaining access to the EU market.

China will positively examine and consider applications of EU insurance institutions for business operations in China and improve its supervisory and regulatory regimes in line with the Chinese insurance laws, regulations, statutes and China's WTO commitments, says the paper.

More EU securities institutions, fund management institutions and other institutional investors will be encouraged to enter into China's markets, the paper adds.

Also in the paper, the Chinese Government called upon the European Union (EU) to prudently handle Taiwan-related issues.

China appreciates EU and its members' commitment to the one-China principle and hopes the EU will continue to respect China's major concerns over the Taiwan question, guard against Taiwan authorities' attempts to create "two Chinas'' or "one China, one Taiwan'', it said.

In the paper, China also requests the EU not to have any contact with the "Tibetan government in exile'' or provide facilities to the separatist activities of the Dalai clique.

The paper said China encourages personages of various circles in the EU to visit Tibet and welcomes the support of the EU and its members to Tibet's economic, cultural, educational and social development and their co-operation with the autonomous region "subject to full respect of China's laws and regulations.''

The government also called upon the EU to lift its ban on arms sales to China in the diplomatic strategy document.

The document says the EU should lift the ban at an early date so as to ""remove barriers to greater bilateral co-operation on defence industry and technologies.''

China and the EU will maintain high-level military exchanges, and develop and improve a strategic security consultation mechanism. When talking about the new document, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Zhang Qiyue said yesterday that the Chinese Government hopes to enhance co-operation with the EU and promote long-term and stable development of relations with its EU Policy Paper.

She said the EU is a major power, and China attaches importance to its role and influence in regional and international affairs. China-EU relations as a whole has been growing stronger and more mature.

China appreciates the efforts the EU and its members have made in developing relations with China, adding that it is an important component of China's foreign policy to consolidate and develop friendly relations with the EU.

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