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Mandelson: progress made on EU-China high level mechanism
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17:03, February 25, 2008

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The European Union expressed its commitment to China’s success in which lies Europe’s “overriding interest”. It is ready and confident to take a “cooperative approach” to addressing trade issues between EU and China.

After his meeting with new Chinese Minister of Commerce Mr. Chen Deming in Beijing, Peter Mandelson, EU Trade Commissioner said Monday that their talks resulted to “progress on the establishment of the new EU-China High Level Economic and Trade Mechanism”. The mechanism is likely to be launched in April, according to Mr. Mandelson.

The press release from the EU Embassy in Beijing said Mandelson and Chen exchanged their views on important issues of bilateral trade and how the mechanism should work. “The High Level Mechanism is not a quick-fix – it will map out the long-term direction of our economic and trade relationship, and help smooth out issues we encounter along the way,” said Mr. Mandelson in the press release.

The meeting also led to the building of the foundation of a “constructive and strong personal relationship” between the two ministers, added Mr. Mandelson.

During the 10th China-EU Summit on Nov. 28, 2007, the two sides agreed to set up the Vice-Primer level dialogue on strategies in EU-China trade, investment and economic cooperation, and to coordinate bilateral projects, studies and develop plans in priority sectors.

In his article before the visit, titled as A common interest in China’s success, Mr. Mandelson described China’s proposal of the mechanism as “far more important than any disagreement”. He believes that a “cooperative approach” would be both practical and necessary, adding that the high-level mechanism should be based on “a joint long-term partnership built on mutual interest and confidence”.

EU’s trade deficit with China, he thinks, is due to the relocation of the European supply chains in China from other parts of Asia on one hand and China’s export-driven growth. He demanded more market access into China and better investment environment in China for European companies.

China's Ministry of Commerce showed in its statistics that China's surplus with the EU, China's largest trading partner, stood at 134 billion U.S. dollars in 2007.

From the European side, Mr. Mandelson warned against protectionist strategy in Europe against China “would be as damaging for China as it would be for Europe”. And he called for the attitude of “openness” toward the increasing Chinese investment in Europe.

Mr. Mandelson stressed the importance of China for “any business that wants to be in business in ten years time” as China will probably become the world’s largest exporter and have growing presence in international equity markets.

“The overriding interest of Europe is in a successful China,” Mr. Mandelson asserted.

By People’s Daily Online

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