Brussels, 20 December 2010 - The EU and China will hold their third High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED) on 20 and 21 December in Beijing. It is the first such meeting since the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty and will cover macro-economic challenges facing the international economy, competition questions as well as trade, investment, innovation, and customs cooperation.

Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaquín Almunia said: "The European Union and China are both global partners that have much to gain from each other. It is our interest to develop economic relations that are mutually beneficial and provide the best opportunities for our respective citizens. The EU and China must both be actors in the solution of global challenges such as current macro-economic imbalances, development of trade flows, access to raw materials and the need for a more efficient energy use worldwide."

"European businesses have vastly contributed to China’s economy over the last decade," said EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht. "We want to stay in the game and be part of China’s future economic development. A constructive dialogue that looks at both the challenges and the opportunities is the way to make this happen."

The HED offers an opportunity to discuss EU-China relevant topics across the board. It is co-chaired by European Commission Vice-President in charge of competition policy Joaquin Almunia, Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht, Commissioner for Economic and Monetary Affairs Olli Rehn as well as Chinese Vice-Premier Wang Qishan. The EU will further be represented by Commissioner for Taxation and Customs Union Algirdas Šemeta, Director General for Enterprise Heinz Zourek and Deputy Director-General for Information Society Antti Peltomaki.

The meeting takes place as the global economy is gaining a more solid foothold and at a juncture where both the EU and China are moving forward with bold plans for the future of their economies. It is important for the EU and China, two of the largest economies in the world, to discuss the economic challenges they face. Both EU and China can contribute, through their policies and enhanced bilateral cooperation and within the G20, to more solid, sustainable and balanced global growth.


In 2010, China is the world’s largest exporter and the world’s second largest national economy. The country now accounts for about 11% of world trade in goods. Bilateral trade with the EU has gone from €4 billion in 1978 to €296 billion in 2009. The EU continues to be China's main export market. In 2009 the EU imported goods worth €215 billion from China.

At the same time, China is Europe's fastest growing export market. European companies are deeply integrated in Asian production chains. More than half of China's exports are currently produced by foreign invested enterprises. As a result, the EU runs a deficit with China on trade in goods which was €133 billion in 2009 (compared to €169 billion in 2008). Through better market access, European exporters should be well placed to increasingly sell their products on the rapidly expanding Chinese consumer market.

On the services market Europe runs a surplus with China of €5.0 billion in 2009 (compared to €4.9 billion in 2008).

Investment flows also show vast untapped potential. European companies invested €5.3 billion in China in 2009 (€4.7 billion in 2008). China invested €0.3 billion in 2009. This is respectively less than 3% and 1% of both sides' total investment outflow.


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