Leaders at China-EU Summit discuss free trade as China-US trade spat intensifies

World Today

China and the European Union are pledging to strengthen their partnership and uphold the values of free trade and multilateralism as President Xi met with EU Leaders at the 20th China-EU leaders meeting. CGTN’s Audrey Siek has more.

With the threat of an escalating trade war between China and the United States, Beijing used this meeting with the European Union to push free trade. President Xi Jinping hailed globalization, as he met with European Council President Donald Tusk and Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Monday.

China and the EU said their relationship is more important than ever especially in light of the conflict between the world’s two largest economies.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, who co-chaired the meeting, expressed China’s commitment to fair trade practices and plans to open up its economy further to foreign investors.

“As long as you are registered here in China, you will be treated the same as Chinese companies,” Premier Li said. “We forbid any forced transfer of intellectual property and will deal with IP violations in a more serious manner. For those who violate intellectual property laws, we will punish them to the fullest extent of the law so that they cannot afford to commit such violations again.”

Europe has played the peacemaker as pressure continues to build between Washington and Beijing and says that there’s still time to prevent conflict and chaos.

“It’s the common duty of Europe and China, but also America and Russia not to destroy (the global trade order) but to improve it, not to start trade wars which turned into hot conflicts so often in our history,” said Donald Tusk, President of the European Council.

In a communique produced at the meeting, both the EU and China affirmed their commitments towards multilateral trading and also agreed that to address any trade disputes through the World Trade Organization. 

Trade talks aside, both sides also reiterated their commitment to the Paris Climate Change pact and pledged more cooperation in global humanitarian assistance efforts.

Sourabh Gupta discusses China EU relations

CGTN’s Mike Walter spoke with Sourabh Gupta, a senior fellow at the Institute for China-America studies, on China EU relations.