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EU-China Summit to Finalize Key Projects

The upcoming European Union-China Summit in Beijing will discuss some major cooperation projects, from multi-million-euro loans to fighting climate change and possibly a clean-energy research center, EU ambassador to China Serge Abou said yesterday.

Addressing a press conference, Abou, who is also head of the European Commission (EC) delegation to China, said the European Investment Bank will give a 500-million-euro loan to Chinese banks. The deal will be struck on the sidelines of the summit scheduled for November 28.

The two sides will sign a 10-million-euro program, too, to train management professionals at Shanghai-based China Europe International Business School. A China-EU law school will also be opened next year, he said.

Also, EU's proposal to start a Sino-EU clean-energy center in China could get a favorable response at the summit, Abou said.

Portuguese Prime Minister Jose Socrates, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the EU, EC President Jose Manuel Barroso, other senior EU officials and top Chinese leaders will attend the summit.

Both sides will review the progress made in EU-China ties over the past decade and discuss how to further pragmatic bilateral cooperation in the fields of trade, science and technology, tourism and education, Abou said.

"We will increase our long-term cooperation by forging a political and legal framework for cooperation. which we think will be a framework for the next decades," he said.

It was started early this year and has developed quite smoothly, said Abou.

The Chinese and EU leaders are also likely to discuss international and regional issues of common concern such as the situations in the Middle East and Myanmar and the nuclear issues in Iran and on the Korean Peninsula, Abou said.

"I'm sure we will have a very intense discussion." Both sides are preparing for the summit with optimism and confidence and in the spirit of cooperation, he said.

An EU-China business meeting will be held on the sidelines of the summit and is expected to attract about 500 entrepreneurs from China and the EU. They are likely to have in-depth discussions on subjects related to bilateral trade and investment cooperation, including protection of intellectual property rights and product safety, Abou said.

The annual EU-China Summit that began in 1998 is a high-level communication platform between Chinese and EU leaders. The last one was held in Helsinki in September 2006.

The European Union is China's biggest foreign trading partner, ahead of the United States and Japan, while China has become EU's top supplier, according to Abou.

(China Daily November 13, 2007)

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