From 25-28 April 2013, the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice President of European Commission Catherine Ashton paid an official visit to China.
The EU's first high-level meetings with the new Chinese leadership were an opportunity to strengthen and deepen the EU-China relationship.
The EU-China Strategic Partnership, which is based on the 1985 EU China trade and cooperation agreement, has grown to include foreign affairs, security matters and international challenges such as climate change and global economy governance.
The EU and China are world players. The EU is China’s biggest trading partner, while China is the EU’s largest source of imports and 2nd largest two way trading partner. The trade and investment relationship is a major source of wealth, jobs, development and innovation for both sides.
The issues that the EU and China discuss during their regular meetings are organised around 3 'pillars': political dialogue, economic and sectoral dialogue and people to people dialogue.
There are annual summits, regular high level dialogues and more than 50 sectoral dialogues [65 KB] on topics including industrial policy, education, customs, social affairs, nuclear energy and consumer protection.
Human rights are discussed as part of the regular political dialogues and – since 1995 – during specific human rights dialogues.