Political and economic relations
The European Union and China: A Maturing Partnership
China has undergone dramatic change since it opened to the outside world in 1978. It has become a major trading nation thanks to a rapid internal transformation that has made it shift from a centrally planned economy to a market-driven one engaged in global commerce. The country's accession to the World Trade Organisation has accelerated this process.
China now is a power increasingly engaged in world affairs and seeking a political status commensurate with its economic weight. Chinese foreign policy is now also engaged in issues of global concern (environment, fight against terrorism, world trade liberalisation etc.).
The EU itself is changing in ways that will lead China to adjust its own strategic vision of the European continent. The introduction of the Euro has had a profound impact on the Chinese leadership, business community and public opinion. The EU enlargement, the building up of EU defence and security capacities, and the willingness of the EU to assert itself on the world stage through common foreign policy mechanisms are all ingredients of an ever-increasing interest for strengthening Sino-European relations.
The EU's main objective is for China to occupy the position it deserves according to its size and geo-strategic importance in the international community, both politically and economically. The EU supports the process of economic and social reform underway in China. It backs China's transition towards an open society based upon the rule of law and respect for human rights, and believes this will benefit China's development and social stability.
The EU's China Policy:
- To engage China further, both bilaterally and on the world stage, through an upgraded political dialogue.
- To support China's transition to an open society based upon the rule of law and respect for human rights.
- To encourage the integration of China in the world economy through bringing it fully into the world trading system, and supporting the process of economic and social reform that is continuing in China.
- To raise the EU's profile in China.
Economic and Finance
In today's globalised world and with the EU being one of China's two largest export markets, our economies are increasingly interdependent. The EU and China cooperate closely on a wide range of economic and financial issues. These range from how to prevent regulatory arbitrages between financial jurisdictions, the promotion of sound financial innovation and supervision or discussing synergies in addressing structural challenges that both are facing like population ageing.
This vital cooperation requires close and regular contacts between the relevant EU institutions, such as the EU Commission's Directorates General for Economic and Financial Affairs (DG ECFIN) and for the Internal Market and Services (DG MARKT) or the new crisis-mechanism: the European Stability Mechanism (the ESM), and its Chinese counterparts, primarily the Ministry of Finance (MOF), the People's Bank of China (PBoC) and the department managing its foreign-exchange reserve (SAFE), the National Development and Reform Commission (the NDRC) as well as the different regulators for the banking (CBRC), securities (CSRC) and insurance (CIRC) sectors. Staff seconded to Beijing from DGs ECFIN and MARKT mainly work to foster a closer cooperation between the EU and China, both bilaterally and in different international fora such as the G20 or the IMF.
The work in the Ecfin section aims at:
- promoting a better understanding in Europe of Chinese economic and financial-market developments and their impact on the EU,
- promoting a better understanding among our Chinese partners of the euro, the Eurozone and the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU), as well as of the EU financial legal framework.
Our contacts are many and frequent with the cooperation formalised in the following annual dialogues:
- the High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue or the HED (see also to click)
- the economic nd Financial Dialogue between DGs ECFIN and MARKT with MOF; and with the European Central Bank (the ECB), the PBOC as well as the Chinese regulators also present. The most recent dialogue took place in Brussels on 1 June 2012 and with the next one foreseen for Beijing during 2013;
- and he Macroeconomic Dialogue between DG ECFIN and the NDRC focusing on structural economic policies, last conducted on 27 Apr. 2012 and with the next dialogue to be held in Beijing during 2013.
What's in the news?
The EU Delegation launched an information campaign on the euro late 2011 that is travelling across China to explain the history behind the euro, the current challenges and our strategy to deal with the crisis and why this matters to China (see also to click).By now,some 34,000 students have seen the stand-alone exhibition that has been on display around 10 major cities in China so far and with two more stops are foreseen for the first half of 2013.