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EU-China Summit: Rebalancing the strategic partnership 

Editing office - Geneva 

Brussels, 9 April 2019The 21st EU-China Summit took place on 9 April in Brussels, providing a forum for engagement at the highest level and for advancing the relationship as regards the bilateral and multilateral agendas.President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and President of the European Council Donald Tusk represented the European Union at the Summit. The People's Republic of China was represented by Premier Li Keqiang. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission, Federica Mogherini, and European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness, Jyrki Katainen, also attended the Summit."In today's world, our partnership is more important than ever before. We share the same belief that working together makes the world a stronger, safer and more prosperous place", said President Jean-Claude Juncker. "As good friends, we can also be honest with each other when we need to be or when progress is slower than we would like. This honesty and a strong determination to face our challenges together have allowed us to make real progress, reflected in today's Joint Statement. But we can do a lot better. We need to find a better balance and level of reciprocity. Europe wants to trade more and invest more in China but we need rules that allow us to do so. We want to work with China, because we believe in the potential of our partnership.”The full remarks of President Juncker at the press conference following the Summit are available online. The European Union and China have issued a Joint Summit Statement.

A realistic, assertive and multi-faceted EU approach  

While China's economic and political influence makes it a vital partner for the European Union, as well as vice-versa, there is a growing appreciation in Europe that the balance of challenges and opportunities presented by China has shifted. In line with last month's Joint Communication on China and the discussion among EU leaders at the March European Council discussion, the EU pursues a realistic and multi-faceted approach with a view to ensuring fair, balanced and mutually-beneficial relations. The EU will work for a more balanced economic relationship with China while at the same time pursue deeper engagement on global and multilateral issues, including reform of the World Trade Organisation.In addition to the Joint Summit Statement, which demonstrates the breadth and depth of EU-China cooperation, a number of other concrete deliverables were agreed at the Summit, including: 

1- a Memorandum of Understanding on a dialogue in the area of the state aid control regime and the Fair Competition Review System; 

2- an Agreement on the Terms of Reference of the EU-China Competition Policy Dialogue; 

3- a Joint Statement on the Implementation of the EU-China Cooperation on Energy; 

4- Terms of Reference for a Joint Study to identify the most sustainable railways-based transport corridors between Europe and China. 

Preserving the international rules-based trade system and enhancing bilateral trade and investment  

At the Summit, the EU and China confirmed their firm support to the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system with the World Trade Organisation (WTO) at its core. Building on the work of the joint working group on WTO reform established at last year's summit, they will intensify discussions with a view to strengthening international rules on industrial subsidies.The shared objective of equitable and mutually beneficial cooperation in bilateral trade and investment was one of the key topics discussed. The EU and China reiterated their willingness to provide each other with broader, non-discriminatory market access. 

With this in mind, the parties will work expeditiously on a number of key market access barriers ahead of the next EU-China Summit.Progress was also made on the ongoing Investment Agreement negotiations, a top priority for maintaining an open, predictable, fair and transparent business environment for European and Chinese investors. The Leaders committed to achieving decisive progress to conclude the negotiations in 2020. In this regard, they also established a political mechanism to continuously monitor the progress in the negotiations. 

With a provisional agreement reached on the text of the agreement on Geographical Indications (GIs) and on the protection for the majority of GI names, Leaders committed to work together to resolve the remaining issues to conclude the negotiations in 2019. The EU and China agreed that steel overcapacity remains a global challenge that requires collective responses. To this end, the EU and China will maintain communication in the Global Forum on Steel Excess Capacity, ahead of a substantive report by June 2019.The EU and China have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on a dialogue in the area of the State Aid Control and the Fair Competition Review, reconfirming a Memorandum of Understanding signed in 2017. 

The State aid dialogue is a mechanism of consultation, cooperation and transparency between China and the EU in the field of State aid control. This dialogue will further the EU and China's mutual interest and joint work to promote fair global competition. It is also part of the Commission's broader strategy to address the distortion that national subsidies policies put on a global level playing field where companies can compete on their merits. The Agreement on the Terms of Reference of the EU-China Competition Policy Dialogue, also agreed today, will replace two earlier documents signed by the EU and China in order to facilitate requests to investigate alleged anti-competitive behaviour. 

The Agreement acknowledges that the EU and China share a common interest to minimise any potentially adverse effects of enforcement activities on each other's interests.   

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