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EU strategy on China

Two documents comprise the the EU's China policy:
  • a European Commission "joint communication" titled "Elements for a new EU strategy on China" and dated 22 June 2016, and
  • the Council of the European Union's response to that communication, titled "Council Conclusions EU Strategy on China'" and dated 18 July 2016.
Reciprocity is an important theme: "The EU expects its relationship with China to be one of reciprocal benefit in both political and economic terms."

Coordination within the EU is also emphasised: "Dealing with China requires a comprehensive approach to ensure maximum impact."

In concluding, the strategy states that recommendations will follow to:
  • improve the preparation and follow-up of EU-China Summits and other high-level meetings, as well as their coherence with Member States' high-level contacts with China;
  • propose common policy frameworks in specific areas (e.g. connectivity);
  • mainstream key themes and objectives across all EU-China dialogues, while concentrating on a smaller number of priorities where the EU has the greatest added value.

EU-China Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation

The "Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation between the European Economic Community and the People's Republic of China" was signed on 21 May 1985 and entered into force on 1 October of the same year.

Even today, the Agreement remains the main legal framework for relations with China. The agreement covers economic and trade relations, as well as the EU-China co-operation programme. It was complemented in 1994 and 2002 by exchanges of letters establishing a broad EU-China political dialogue.

The Agreement sets out objectives and arrangements for action in the sphere of economic and trade cooperation and is non-preferential.

At the 16th EU-China Summit held on 21 November 2013 both sides announced the launch of negotiations of a comprehensive EU-China Investment Agreement.