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Monday, July 10, 2000, updated at 11:19(GMT+8)

Round-up: Greeting Bright Future of Sino-European Ties

Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji will begin on July 10 his official visit to the headquarters of the European Union in Brussels, the capital of Belgium, this is an important visit paid by a Chinese leader to EU on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and EU. A EU personage points out: Chinese premier's visit will give a great impetus to the further development of Sino-European cooperative relations in depth and breadth.

China established diplomatic relations with EU in May 1975. Over the past 25 years, significant development has been achieved in Sino-European relations through the common efforts of both sides.

In the political field, Sino-European ties have gone up to a new level particularly since 1995. EU has formulated in succession three policies on its China policy, namely Long-term Policy for EU-China Relations, New EU Strategy Toward China and Establishing Comprehensive Partnership With China, pointing out: European-Chinese relationship is bound to become a cornerstone of Europe's foreign relations, including relations with Asia and the whole globe. EU advocates establishing all-round partnership with China. China has also reaffirmed time and again that both China and EU are an important force safeguarding peace and promoting development in today's world arena, and that comprehensively developing long-term, stable and mutually beneficial cooperative ties with EU and its member countries is an important component of China's foreign policy.

Beginning in 1998, China and EU established a system under which leaders of the two sides meet once every year to carry out discussion and consultation on matters of common interest. In recent years, there have been frequent mutual visits between top leaders of China and EU, in 1999, Chinese President Jiang Zemin and NPC Standing Committee Chairman Li Peng paid successive visits to some of the EU member states; Dutch Queen, Finnish President, German Chancellor and some other European leaders also visited China. Since the beginning of this year, three Chinese vice-premiers have successively paid visits to some EU member countries; Spanish Prime Minister and other EU state leaders have also visited China. The high-level, multi-field dialogs and exchanges between China and EU have deepened mutual understanding and tremendously promoted the development of Sino-European relations.

The economies of China and Europe are strongly complementary and there is wide space for cooperation, Sino-EU economic and trade relations have undergone rapid development in recent years. EU is China's third largest trade partner behind Japan and the United States and is an important region from which China brings in foreign capital and technology. China is EU's fourth largest trade partner following the United States, Switzerland and Japan. Statistics show that EU has invested in nearly 12,000 projects in China since the beginning of the 1990s, with contracted value standing at nearly 40 billion Euro dollars and paid-in investment at 22 Euro dollars. EU has invested in many large projects equipped with high technology in China, for example Finland's Nokia, Germany's Volkswagen AG, France's Citroen, Holland's Philips, and Belgium's Bell, all these European companies are familiar to the Chinese. With respect to bilateral trade, according to statistics from Chinese customhouse, in 1999 bilateral trade between China and EU came to US$55.7 billion, up by 14 percent, of which China's exports to EU reached US$30.2 billion, up by 7.3 percent; imports amounted to US$25.5 billion, up 23.2 percent. EU experts predict that judged from the trade development momentum in the first quarter, European-China trade this year will have fairly large increase over last year.

In addition, the bilateral agreement reached and signed between China and EU this May concerning China's entry into the World Trade Organization marks a step forward in the process of China's projected entry into the WTO. This progress will, without a doubt, effectively promoted the development of bilateral economic and trade relations between China and EU, and it has opened still wider area for Sino-EU economic and trade cooperation.

Despite the sustained, steady development of Sino-EU ties, due to differences in political systems, cultural traditions and the level of economic development, both sides have divergent views on some issues such as human rights, this is a normal phenomenon. Now that both sides are constantly strengthening dialogs in the hope of deepening mutual understanding. In the trading field, although EU has deleted China from the list of "non-market economy countries", Chinese products still cannot fully enjoy the treatment given to market economy countries in such aspects as anti-dumping and limit to amount. Regarding this, experts maintain that China's accession to the WTO will be able to urge EU to change its discriminatory trade policy toward China.

Chinese premier's visit in summer to "European capital" Brussels under bright sunshine will usher in a beautiful future for the development of Sino-EU relations.

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Chinese premier's visit in summer to "European capital" Brussels under bright sunshine will usher in a beautiful future for the development of Sino-EU relations.

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