EU-China Summit Addresses Trade, Climate Change, COVID-19 Pandemic
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The EU urged China to live up to its commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change and to commit to climate neutrality “as soon as possible after 2050”.

European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, called for addressing market access barriers and more ambition from China to conclude negotiations on an investment agreement.

The EU and China discussed the COVID-19 pandemic, economic recovery, trade, climate change and the SDGs, bilateral relations, and other regional and international issues during the 22nd bilateral summit. The summit took place via videoconference on 22 June 2020.

On economics and trade, the EU “recalled the joint commitment to work constructively and expeditiously towards the resolution of a number of market access and regulatory issues.” Noting “an unbalanced trade and investment relationship” between the EU and China, European Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, called for addressing market access barriers and more ambition from China to conclude negotiations on an investment agreement. Von der Leyen also urged China “to engage seriously” on a reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO), in particular on the future negotiations on industrial subsidies.

On climate change, the EU urged China to live up to its commitments under the Paris Agreement on climate change, and called for China to commit to ambitious domestic action to reduce emissions in the short term, including by addressing decarbonization in China’s next five-year plan. The EU further urged China to commit to climate neutrality “as soon as possible after 2050.” The EU also called on China to support sustainable development, especially in Africa.

European Council President, Charles Michel, said the EU and China must work together on climate action, achieving the SDGs, and addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. He emphasized that engaging and cooperating with China “is both an opportunity and necessity,” and said the EU must recognize that “we do not share the same values, political systems, or approach to multilateralism.” Von der Leyen, said relations between the EU and China “must become more rules-based and reciprocal” to achieve a level playing field.

Chinese President Xi Jinping identified three areas of work to ensure that China and the EU are: “two major forces for world peace and stability”; “two major markets for world development and prosperity”; and “two major civilizations for upholding multilateralism and improving global governance.”

On the COVID-19 pandemic, the EU and China agreed on the importance of supporting vulnerable countries and populations, including through the Global Response Initiative. The EU called on China to participate in the World Health Assembly-mandated review of lessons learned on the international health response to COVID-19. The EU highlighted a shared responsibility to participate in global efforts to stop the virus’s spread, increase research on treatments and vaccines, and support a green and inclusive recovery.

The EU emphasized the importance of results-oriented implementation of commitments made at the 2019 EU-China Summit. The EU stressed a need to advance negotiations on an EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement that ensures a “level playing field” and addresses “current asymmetries in market access,” including progress on technology transfer and transparent subsidies. The EU emphasized that data protection and respect of fundamental rights are critical in development of new technologies.

Leaders discussed a number of other issues, including Hong Kong, human rights, and regional and international conflicts. [EU Press Release] [EU Summit Webpage] [EC President Statement] [China’s Press Release]

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