EUROPE'S crippling debt crisis and a series of thorny trade issues will weigh on the agenda as European Union and Chinese officials meet in Beijing yesterday.
The third EU-China Strategic Dialogue will help pave the way for the next top-level summit in Brussels this year, and comes as European countries struggle to find answers to end their financial woes.
Europe is China's biggest trading partner and Beijing is a major holder of European debt, so China has viewed the eurozone crisis with alarm.
China had in the past said it was looking at ways it could contribute to bailout funds to help Europe, but such help has not materialised.
However the Asian giant, the world's biggest holder of foreign exchange reserves, last month pledged US$43 billion to the International Monetary Fund's new crisis fund to help global financial stability amid the eurozone shock.
"China has offered a variety of assistance to Europe within its capability and pledged continuous support to (the) EU's endeavour to achieve economic recovery and stable growth," the state-run Xinhua news agency said Monday.
"China believes a united, stable and prosperous Europe serves the interests of the world," it said in a commentary.
The world's number two economy and the 27-country bloc have lately locked horns on trade issues, including China's grip on rare earths used in high technology and an EU carbon tax which Chinese airlines have refused to pay.
The EU has joined the United States and Japan to accuse China of unfairly choking off exports of rare earths and they have turned to the World Trade Organization to resolve the escalating dispute.
China's aviation watchdog in February barred Chinese airlines from participating in the so-called Emissions Trading Scheme, though there are hopes the EU might postpone the controversial carbon tax.
China also aims for movement on two long-standing issues, hoping the EU will grant it full market economy status and scrap an embargo on arms sales imposed after the Tiananmen crackdown in 1989.
Market economy status is a technical designation that would remove certain restrictions on Chinese exports to, and investments in, Europe.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the top representative of the bloc at the Beijing meeting, said the two sides would engage on many issues.
Wednesday, July 11, 2012
Feel free to comment on this article using your Facebook account. By submitting your comment, you agree to the Terms and Conditions for the use of this comments feature, as stated here.