China-EU summit set to address global economic challenges

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FILE PHOTO: An attendant walks past EU and China flags ahead of the EU-China High-level Economic Dialogue at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China June 25, 2018. REUTERS/Jason Lee/File photo

The upcoming China-EU summit announced by China’s ministry on Monday is set to take place in Beijing on Thursday. The summit aims to facilitate discussions between leaders from both sides on global issues of mutual interest.

During a press briefing Wang Wenbin, spokesperson for the foreign ministry, emphasized the partnership between China and Europe by stating that, they are partners rather than rivals. He further added that their common interests far outweigh any differences. Chinese President Xi Jinping is expected to meet with President of the European Council Charles Michel and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen during this summit.

Wang emphasized the intention to tackle challenges through dialogue and consultation promoting cooperation to address issues and contribute to stability. This summit follows a series of high-level meetings in Beijing over the months as both the EU and China aim to find common ground amidst their complex relations.

This year, the European bloc made commitments to reduce dependence on China. This triggered discussions on finding a balance between “risking” measures and cooperation particularly in areas like climate change. Notably in September during Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis visit to Beijing, the EU agreed to establish dispute settlement mechanisms.

The EU’s involvement with China also involves taking trade matters into account as shown by an investigation into tariffs on electric vehicle imports. In response, China has announced a visa exemption for citizens of countries such as France, Germany, Italy and the Netherlands.

Although the conversations have primarily focused on trade, economy and politics, Philippe Dam, EU director of Human Rights Watch, has urged EU leaders to tackle human rights abuses during their discussions with China.

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