China-EU joint efforts crucial to counter unilateralism, protectionism: ambassador

Source:Xinhua Published: 2019/6/14 9:15:52

"Nobody likes uncertainties. Given that, it is even more important for China and the European Union (EU) to join forces to counter unilateralism and protectionism with the stability of their cooperation," Ambassador Zhang Ming, head of the Chinese Mission to the EU, said in a recent speech.

To that end, China and the EU should work together to foster a more stable and predictable business environment, he said Tuesday in a speech during a luncheon hosted by the EU-China Business Association.

"An important task is to conclude the bilateral investment treaty as scheduled. At the China-EU Summit in April, both sides committed to pushing for decisive progress in BIT talks by the end of this year and concluding an ambitious treaty next year. The treaty aims to substantially improve market access, prohibit discriminatory policies and practices on foreign investors, and establish a balanced framework for investment protection," he noted.

Last month, the two sides exchanged ideas on the next steps, and agreed to hold two rounds of talks before summer break, making positive progress on other fronts including the civil aviation field after the April summit.


Responding to concerns about insufficient intellectual property protection of the European business circle, Zhang noted that "the Foreign Investment Law adopted by China earlier this year stipulates that the intellectual property of foreign investors shall be protected, and prohibits forced transfer of technology through administrative means."

"The Joint Statement of the China-EU Summit also underlined the importance of following international standards in IP protection and enforcement," said Zhang, admitting that "there is still room for improvement on the ground" but China's stand on intellectual property protection is clear-cut and firm.

He further proposed China and the EU to jointly stand for greater openness.

"We (China) will continue to significantly shorten the negative list for foreign investment. This month, we will introduce an updated version of negative list, which will be shorter than the previous one. Though some may choose to close the door, China will open its door wider and wider. This direction would not change," he said.

Hailing EU's long-standing reputation for market openness, Zhang told the audience that recent rhetoric or actions by the EU and some member states on investment screening, public procurement and industrial policy have got some Chinese companies concerned.

"Some are asking if the EU is trying to put up more barriers, while China is trying to put down barriers. I hope that such concerns are unnecessary, and that the EU will keep an open, fair, unbiased and non-discriminatory approach to Chinese companies," he continued.


Hailing China and the EU as supporters, guardians and beneficiaries of multilateralism, Zhang called on China and the EU to jointly uphold the WTO-centered multilateral trading system.

"There is no denying that the WTO is not perfect. Yet we are opposed to the abuse of national security exemptions and trade remedies, and reject any unilateral actions in breach of WTO rules," he said.

"China and the EU have good communication and cooperation on WTO reform. We work together to tackle the Appellate Body crisis, and to build consensus in other areas as well. We share the objective of conducting necessary reform of the WTO, resolving the crisis that threatens its existence, enhancing its credibility and relevance in global economic governance," he said.

In an April joint statement, China and the EU reaffirmed their commitment to multilateralism and opposition to protectionism, and reiterated their respect for international law and for fundamental norms governing international relations, with the UN at the core.

They also vowed to uphold the UN Charter and international law, and all three pillars of the UN system, namely, peace and security, development and human rights.

According to official statistics, the EU has been China's top trading partner for 15 years in a row, while China has been the EU's second largest trading partner for years running. Two-way trade hit a new record of 682.16 billion US dollars in 2018.


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