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Experts stress China-EU trade ties

China Daily, April 29, 2022 Adjust font size:

China is willing to join hands with the European Union to deepen win-win cooperation, which will benefit not only the two sides but the world, in terms of economic recovery from the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, Chinese government officials and experts said on Thursday.

Gao Feng, spokesman of China's Ministry of Commerce, told media in an online briefing that China and the EU share extensive common interests and a solid foundation for cooperation, with strong economic and trade complementarity.

"China is happy to work with the EU to jointly ensure the stability of the industrial and supply chains," and create more growth space for both sides in fields like anti-epidemic measures, the environment, digital economy, and science and technology, he said.

"That will continuously inject new impetus into the healthy development of bilateral economic and trade cooperation."

Data from the ministry showed China-EU bilateral trade surged by 12.2 percent year-on-year to $205.87 billion during the first quarter of this year.

Gao said the growth is attributable to the constantly deepening integration of industrial chains between China and the EU, the surge in raw material prices and international transportation costs, as well as the two sides' bilateral agreement on geographical indications. The agreement, which took effect on March 1, 2021, is providing China and the EU with new dividends, he said.

In the first quarter, China-EU trade in mechanical and electrical products, light industrial goods and high-tech products increased by 10 percent, 19 percent and 31 percent, respectively. Their trade in intermediate goods reached $84.26 billion, accounting for almost 41 percent of total China-EU trade.

Analysts also said China and the EU should expand economic and trade cooperation based on their effective and mutually beneficial trade and investment practices, to inject more growth momentum into both sides as well as the world economy.

"The two sides should maintain intense communication to remove obstacles to the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment and ensure it finally takes effect," said Cui Fan, a professor of international trade at the University of International Business and Economics in Beijing.

Zhou Mi, a senior researcher at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said China and the EU already have a solid cooperation base, and should expand their economic and trade cooperation as the world economy faces multiple pressures from the pandemic and other factors.

He suggested the two sides should unleash stronger cooperation signals to further pragmatic economic and trade cooperation, as that is widely expected by the market.

Mechanism-based cooperation arrangements will reduce uncertainties for enterprises seeking to grow, and apart from bilateral cooperation, the two sides share wide common interests in multilateral economic and trade rules, including that of the World Trade Organization, Zhou said.

He also said the two sides should strengthen cooperation in new areas like e-commerce and antitrust regulation in the digital economy, because those areas currently lack universally accepted trade rules.