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Europe Frustrated with “Endless Delays” Entering China

  • October 31st, 2006
  • Posted by 7thmin

eu-mandelson.jpgThe Trade Commissioner of the European Union, Peter Mandelson, is booked to go to China next week (WB 6.11.06), to make proposals for a trade and co-operation agreement that the two sides agreed to go into, at a summit in September.

He is concerned with steadily expanding Chinese imports, and difficulties encountered by European business in its drive to get better access in reply – to export more to China, make products and invest.

He outlined a negotiating position (24.10.06), to get a change in the relationship which, he said, while bringing benefits to all parties, had tended to be a one-way street.

“China’s economic transformation is having a huge impact in the global economy, particularly in the European Union,” he said.

“Growth means that its market has become the biggest export destination for European goods, and so it is becoming a very important relationship.

“China offers fierce competition to us; that’s fine, but it must be fair.

“What I want in exchange is a recognition that if we are to remain as open as we are to Chinese goods and services, they must become more open to what we supply.

“This isn’t particularly a question of tariffs. There are some high tariff peaks we have to deal with, but there are also very many non-tariff barriers, and obstacles to trade in which European companies face endless frustration, delay and difficulty in getting goods in into Chinese markets and bring about investment we want to make in the Chinese economy.

“Now for us to remain as open to China as we want to be, China has to deal with those barriers to trade and access in its own market.

“So I look for a healthy response, not an overnight change, in what we can negotiate as partners in the international economy – not as enemies.

“They are going in the right direction, but not going fast enough, or far enough.

“That’s why I want to see China comply fully with commitments they’ve taken on , when they joined the World Trade Organisation five years ago. If they just comply with what they said they would do, and honour commitments already made, we would be satisfied, and our job is to make sure that they do.”

Pete Mandelson highlighted problems with the protection of intellectual property in China, ranging from IT to CDs.

He said the proposed new agreement would recognise China’s new trade muscle and world importance, replacing an existing agreement that was already well out of date after just a decade.

The European Union is recognising new realities, and looking for opportunities, with the expansion of the Indian economy as well.

European leaders hosted the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, for talks last month, on setting up regular consultations and a new working agreement on petroleum and gas

There will be consultations on trade liberalisation and market opening, and on pressing international problems – like nuclear proliferation, relations with Iran, and climate change.


Peter Mandelson with EU-China trade and investment document; European Commission