December 23, 2007
A two hour China-EU Summit in Beijing on 28 November was followed by a five day (and part night) negotiation between officials before the Joint Statement could be agreed. Why a 47 paragraph statement has to be issued when very little of its contents were discussed at the summit is hard to comprehend.
Neither the Summit not the Statement report on the implementation of the decisions taken at the preceding summit (in this case Helsinki in September 2006.
Some of the more significant contents are briefly mentioned below, giving an idea of the breadth of the relationship:
2. Satisfaction on start of negotiations on Partnership and Co-operation Agreement, which will update 1985 EEC-China Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement. (note: EU wants one agreement but Chinese two separate ones).
3. EU reaffirmed commitment to one China policy and expressed its hope forpeaceful resolution of Taiwan question through constructive dialogue. EU reiterated concern over intended referendum on UN membership and any possible change in status quo across Taiwan strait. (note: a very sensitive issue for the Chinese)
4. Chinese urged EU to lift the arms embargo at an early date. EU side recognised the importance of this issue and confirmed its willingness to carry forward work towards lifting embargo. (Another sensitive issue for Chinese but requiring agreement of all 27 Member States.
6. Commitment emphasised promotion and protection of human rights and high value placed on EU-China human rights dialogue. EU welcomed China’s commitment to ratifying International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as soon as possible (note: this has been going on for years). Importance of International Criminal Court noted. (important issue for EU. Statement reflects status quo, except that reference to ICC is welcome as China has not ratified it.)
7. Strong support stressed for fair, just and rules-based multilateral international system with UN playing central role.
8. Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism to be agreed as soon as possible. Terrorism should not be linked to any religion or culture. Effective counter-terrorism measures and protection of human rights are not conflicting but complementary and mutually reinforcing goals.
10. Agreed to continue dialogue on African issues, and to explore effective ways and channels of cooperation among China, EU and Africa. EU invited China to attend EU-Africa Summit as observer. China invited EU Commissioner for Development to visit China. (No progress since Helsinki despite commitments. It is to be hoped that visit of Louis Michel will produce progress.)
19. Cooperation in and dialogue on sustainable economic and social development to be strengthened. Efforts to be increased to support corporate social responsibility.
20. Cooperation to be enhanced on environmental protection.
21. Great importance attached to climate change. Cooperation to be strengthened to jointly meet serious challenge of climate change in accordance with their common but differentiated responsibilities and respective capabilities.
22. €500 million framework loan to PRC from European Investment Bank signed, to support projects that contribute to combating climate change.
23. Energy agreed as global issue closely related to economical and social development. Importance of enhancing bilateral communication and cooperation recognized.
Agreed to open China-EU Clean Energy Centre in 2008.
24. High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue between Commission and State Council at level of Vice-Premier to be established by end-March 2008 to discuss strategies in EU-China trade, investment and economic cooperation and coordinate bilateral projects, studies and develop plans in priority sectors. It will cover issues affecting trade imbalance, including inter alia effective market access, intellectual property rights, environment, high technology and energy in order to find concrete means to increase trade in balanced way. Minister of Commerce and Trade Commissioner will meet as necessary to prepare this mechanism and its agenda.
25. High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue will review concerns of China including progress on issue of Market Economy Status (MES).
26. Enhancement of cooperation in macroeconomic policy agreed. Exchange of best practice in economic and social management and public service among government departments to be promoted. Financial dialogue to be deepened. Exchange and cooperation in China-EU macroeconomic situation, fiscal and financial policies, reforms and regulation of financial sectors, to be conducted.
27. Discussions held in Beijing on 27-28 November between Chinese representatives and their counterparts from Eurogroup on macroeconomic issues welcomed. Agreed during discussions that necessary to make concerted efforts to adopt comprehensive measures, intensify structural adjustment, and avoid drastic movement of exchange rates, so as to make due contribution to orderly adjustment of global imbalances. (note: first meeting with Trichet, Almunia and Juncker).
28. Agreed that high level of product safety is key to consumer confidence and reciprocal trade. Competent authorities of both sides have established a comprehensive cooperative relationship.
31. China-EU Business Summit held in Beijing on 27-28 November 2007 welcomed. Importance of more active involvement of stakeholders in China-EU trade and investment-related dialogues recognized.
32. Agreed that further facilitation is needed for EU SMEs to operate in China and Chinese SMEs to operate in EU. European initiative welcomed of conducting feasibility study on European Centre in China to assist European SMEs investing in or exporting to China.
33. Positive results of China-EU Science and Technology Year emphasized (gathering researchers, industry, including SMEs and academics).
Acknowledged very important participation of Chinese researchers in first calls of 7th Research Framework Programme. Participation of European researchers in Chinese funded programmes to be facilitated.
34. Satisfaction expressed on entry into force of ITER agreement on 24 October 2007. Discussions to begin towards establishing bilateral agreement between Euratomand China in fusion energy research…40. WHO International Health Regulations (2005) to be earnestly implemented, so as to safeguard public health and follow with concern spread of HIV/AIDS, avian ‘flu and other new epidemics.
41. Cooperation in employment and social affairs an important element ofdialogue on sustainable development.
Structured dialogue on health and safety at work to be established and Memorandum of Understanding to be signed in early 2008. Cooperation in social assistance, social welfare and social affairs to be strengthened.
42. Importance of healthy and developing civil society for sustainability of reform process both in EU and China recognized. Continued exchanges and pragmatic cooperation between China Economic and Social Council and European Economic and Social Committee constitute part of relationship. Strengthening of civil society dialogue welcomed.
43. Commitment to further enhancing and expanding exchanges and cooperation in legal and judicial areas with a view to enhancing mutual understanding and friendship.
45. Facilitating people-to-people exchanges and combating illegal migration remains priority. Readmission and visa facilitation also discussed. Significant progress in implementation of tourism agreement (ADS) welcomed and further intensification of cooperation encouraged.
46. Meeting mechanism of China-EU on youth affairs at ministerial level. to be speedily initiated. Enhancement of exchanges and cooperation between scholars and think tanks supported and encouraged.
Joint Declaration on education and vocational training, signed in October 2007, welcomed.
Cooperation on establishing Europe-China School of Law in China Leaders welcomed, as well as successful launch of China-Europe Business Management Training Project..
47. Progress in EU-China development co-operation programme welcomed. Recently finalised Multiannual Indicative Programme for 2007-2010, making €128 m available from EC budget for support in areas covered by sectoral dialogues, environment, energy and climate change and human resources development, noted with satisfaction.Author : Stanley Crossick