Procedure : 2008/2171(INI)
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Document selected : A6-0021/2009

Texts tabled :

A6-0021/2009

Debates :

Votes :

PV 05/02/2009 - 5.8
CRE 05/02/2009 - 5.8
Explanations of votes
Explanations of votes

Texts adopted :

P6_TA(2009)0053

REPORT     
PDF 299kWORD 215k
27 January 2009
PE 413.993v02-00 A6-0021/2009

on Trade and Economic Relations with China

(2008/2171(INI))

Committee on International Trade

Rapporteur: Corien Wortmann-Kool

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION
 EXPLANATORY STATEMENT
 OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Development
 OPINION of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs
 OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy
 OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection
 RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

MOTION FOR A EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT RESOLUTION

on Trade and Economic Relations with China

(2008/2171(INI))

The European Parliament,

–   having regard to the EU-China High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue Mechanism (HLM) that met for the first time in Beijing on 25 April 2008,

–   having regard to the conclusions of the Tenth China-EU Summit held in Beijing on 28 November 2007,

–   having regard to the Communication from the Commission entitled "EU – China: Closer partners, growing responsibilities" (COM (2006)0631) and its accompanying working document entitled "A policy paper on EU-China trade and investment: Competition and Partnership" (COM(2006)0632)(1),

   having regard to the decision taken by the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) held in Doha, Qatar on 9-14 November 2001 on the admission of China to the WTO with effect from 11 November 2001 and Chinese Taipei with effect from 1 January 2002,

 having regard to its recent resolutions on China, in particular its resolution of 7 September 2006 on EU-China relations(2) and of 13 October 2005 on prospects for trade relations between the EU and China(3),

 having regard to the study of the Commission of 15 February 2007 entitled "Future Opportunities and challenges in EU-China Trade and Investment Relations 2006-2010",

 having regard to its resolution of 10 July 2008 on the situation in China after the earthquake and before the Olympic Games(4),

   having regard to the Eighth Annual Report "European Business in China Position Paper 2008/2009" of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China,

 having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

–   having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinions of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, the Committee on Development, the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy and the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (A6-0021/2009),

A. Whereas EU-China trade has increased enormously since the year 2000, whereas the EU has been China’s biggest trading partner since 2006 and China has been second largest trading partner of the EU since 2007,

B.  Whereas increased development and WTO membership entail a greater responsibility for China to play a full and positive role in the global economic order, including in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank Group,

C. Whereas, despite continued growth, bilateral trade between China and the EU, which has a trade deficit with China of over EUR 160 billion in 2007, remains imbalanced,

D. Whereas financial and macro-economic imbalances and the drop in internal demand and exports are at the root of the current global financial and economic crisis which also affects China,

E.  Whereas access to the Chinese market is complicated due to state-led industrial policies, patent infringements and an ambiguous standards and compliance regime, resulting in technical and non tariff barriers (NTBs) to trade for EU companies,

F.  Whereas EU producers of goods and services are highly competitive on world markets, whereas free and fair access to the Chinese market would allow EU companies to increase their exports and presence in such a market, and also increase quality and services for Chinese consumers,

G. Whereas EU exports to China increased in 2007 by 18.7 percent with a value of EUR 231 billion,

H. Whereas the scale of production of counterfeit and pirated goods inside China remains at an alarmingly high level and 60% of the counterfeit goods seized by the customs authorities of the EU are produced in China; whereas production of these goods frequently takes place in facilities also producing goods for the regular market and in disregard of both labour rights and health and safety requirements, and pose a danger to consumers and, in the case of chemicals, to the wider environment,

General

1.  Stresses that Europe's trade relations with China should be based on the principles of reciprocity, sustainable development, respect for environmental limits, contribution to global goals in the prevention of climate change, fair competition and trade, according to our common values and adherence to WTO rules;

2.  Takes the view that China, as one of the engines of world growth, should play its full part in ensuring that the global economic order develops in a sustainable and balanced way;

3.  Calls on the Commission to continue the policy of engagement and dialogue with China; welcomes the trade-related technical assistance provided to China by the Commission; considers such assistance vital to support China's successful integration into the world economy and, in particular, in implementing its obligations and commitments in the WTO and improving social and environment conditions;

4.  Stresses that unprecedented cooperation is needed between the EU and China in order to resolve the current financial and economic crisis; considers that it is a great opportunity for China and the EU together to show a sense of responsibility and to play their part in helping to resolve this crisis;

5.  Takes the view that the development of trade relations with China must go hand in hand with the development of a genuine, fruitful and effective political dialogue, which covers a wide variety of topics; considers that human rights should be an essential and integral part of the relations between the EU and China; calls on the Commission to insist on the strengthening of the Human Rights Clause in negotiations with China about a renewed Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA);

6.  Believes that today's open trading system could stimulate economic activity between China and developing countries to the possible benefit of both sides and could be an unprecedented opportunity for economic growth and for their integration into the world economy, on the condition that trade policies are consistent with development objectives and that economic growth translates into poverty reduction;

7.  Encourages the Commission to pursue openness in EU trade with China; believes that the European Union and the Member States should continue to offer open and fair access to China's exports and anticipate the competitive challenge; considers that China should reciprocate by strengthening its commitment to economic openness and market reform;

8.  Urges China to play an active role in the WTO, commensurate with its economic and trading importance in order to foster the sound development of global trade within a strong and transparent framework of rules;

9.  Welcomes the participation of China at the G-20 Meeting held in Washington on 15 November 2008, which should pave the way for its definitive involvement in economic and financial world affairs with a subsequent taking up of major responsibilities at a global level;

10. Underlines that protectionism cannot be Europe’s response to the growth in EU-China trade relations; believes that the European Union and the Member States should strive more urgently to make further progress on the Lisbon reform agenda in order to develop and consolidate areas of comparative advantage in the global economy and to foster innovation and vocational training;

11. Notes that a major Chinese recovery plan for growth and jobs has been presented to deal with the current economic crisis; emphasises that the support measures have to be temporary, should meet WTO rules and should not distort fair competition;

12. Welcomes investments of China's Sovereign Wealth Fund and State Owned Enterprises in the EU, contributing to the creation of jobs and growth and to the mutual benefit and balance of investment flows; recalls however the intransparency of China's financial markets and stresses the importance of introducing at least a code of conduct to ensure the transparency of China's investment operations into the EU market, calls on the EU and China to keep their respective markets equally open to investment but to introduce transparency provisions;

Market Access

13. Welcomes the fact that since joining the WTO, a growing number of industrial sectors in China have been opened to foreign investors; however, is concerned that at the same time some sectors are restricted or prevented from accessing foreign investment and discriminatory measures against foreign firms were introduced -especially on cross-border mergers and acquisitions;

14. Considers that in China protectionist practices, excessive bureaucracy, the undervaluing of the Renminbi, subsidies in various forms, and the lack of a proper and agreed level of enforcement of intellectual property rights (IPRs) hinder full market access for many EU companies;

15. Calls on China to further open its markets for goods and services and to continue with economic reforms in order to establish a stable, predictable and transparent legal framework for EU companies, especially for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs);

16. Calls on the Commission to discuss the draft Chinese Postal Law with the Chinese government while this draft contains a provision that would hamper foreign express services; believes that a balanced regulatory framework for postal and express services is required in order to continue China's policy of supporting foreign investment and fair competition in the express delivery sector;

17. Acknowledges the steps taken by the Chinese authorities to reduce administrative burdens at national level and the progress in E-Government to make legislative acts available to the public, but notes that further progress is needed in order to secure free and equal access to the Chinese market for foreign companies;

18. Emphasises that further opening of the Chinese market access will provide opportunities for EU companies in numerous areas such as, machinery manufacture, chemicals, the automotive sector, pharmaceuticals and Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs), Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) projects, agriculture, construction and in financial, insurance, telecommunications and retail services;

Barriers, standards

19. Notes that NTBs represent a major obstacle for EU companies in China and for Chinese and non-EU companies in the EU, particularly for SMEs;

20. Calls on China to adopt international standards for products and services with a view to promoting further trade between China and other countries; welcomes the fact that China is increasing its participation in international standard-setting bodies and believes that this should be encouraged and reciprocated by EU participation in China's own standard-setting bodies; stresses the importance of Chinese imports complying with European standards for food and non-food products;

Raw materials

21. Deplores the persistent use of trade-distorting export restrictions such as export taxes for raw materials by the Chinese government; calls on the Commission to insist on the removal of all existing export restrictions in all bilateral negotiations with China; stresses that the removal of these export restrictions constitutes an essential element of fair trade between the EU and China; underlines that it will evaluate all future trade agreements with China in this respect;

State aid

22. Is concerned that continued state intervention in industrial policy and explicit discriminatory restrictions, such as unlimited state funds for export financing and limitations on the level of foreign ownership in certain sectors, distort the Chinese market for EU companies;

Public procurement

23. Calls on China to join the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA) as committed in 2001 and to engage constructively in negotiations on opening its public procurement markets and, pending the successful outcome of such negotiations, to apply transparent, predictable and fair procedures when awarding public contracts so that foreign companies can participate on an equal basis; calls on China to provide immediate access to EU companies established and operating in China;

Currency

24. Welcomes a certain rise in the value of the Renminbi that has taken place this year; urges China to continue to let the Renminbi rise in value, so that its worth on international financial markets, in particular in relation to the Euro, more closely reflects China's economic position; urges the Chinese to hold more of its foreign exchange reserves in Euros;

EU presence/assistance

25. Welcomes the progress made in establishing an EU Centre in Beijing, which will help SMEs, and in making permanent the budget line to fund the Centre, in order to secure its future; stresses the need to ensure that this Centre has a clear mandate, which avoids the creation of double structures and leads to synergies with existing public and private institutions from EU Member States; welcomes the work done by the IPR SME Helpdesk to provide information and training to European SMEs on protecting and enforcing IPRs in China;

26. Stresses the importance of assisting in particular SMEs to overcome market access barriers; calls on the Commission and the Member States to ensure the successful functioning of EU Market Access Teams in China;

Energy, sustainable energy

27. Calls on the EU and China to take steps to promote trade in environmentally friendly goods and services, the growth of investment in sustainable projects and infrastructure and to encourage the development of industry that contributes to a reduction in carbon emissions;

28. Stresses the opportunities of China's emerging renewable energy sector for the European renewable energy business sector; calls on China to improve market access in this field;

29. Calls for enhanced cooperation between the EU and China to promote the transfer of low-carbon technology, in particular energy efficiency and renewables; stresses the critical importance of developing and deploying carbon capture and storage in China, given the importance of coal to its economy; calls on the Commission to examine ways of supporting further the exchange of best practice with China on the issue of sustainable development;

Financial services

30. Expresses its concern that investment in China is still restricted for EU companies, especially in the banking and insurance sector, due to heavy and discriminatory licensing costs and rules requiring joint ventures with Chinese firms; calls on China to address urgently these issues;

31. Believes that deep, liquid, open, transparent and well-regulated financial markets are capable of fostering economic growth, considers that Chinese securities, banking and insurance sectors are underdeveloped, and encourages China to participate fully in the global debate on improving the regulatory and supervisory framework for the financial markets;

32. Stresses the importance of Chinese involvement and cooperation with the IMF regarding the development of a global code of conduct for sovereign wealth funds, which is likely to lead to a higher degree of transparency.

33. Calls on the Commission to evaluate, as early as possible, the impact of the financial and economic crisis on relevant European industry and service sectors, which play a crucial role in defining the export-import relationship between the EU and China; requests that this evaluation be sent to Parliament as soon as a clear trend is recognisable;

Free and Fair trade

Anti dumping/market economy Status

34. Considers that a permanent dialogue between trade authorities can be helpful to prevent and resolve trade disputes; notes, nevertheless that an effective and efficient use of trade defence instruments (TDI´s) contributes to ensure fair conditions of trade between China and the EU given the rising number of anti- dumping cases filed against Chinese producers;

35. Takes the view that in many areas China's economy still does not fulfil the criteria by which it could be considered a market economy; calls on the Commission to work with the Chinese Government to overcome barriers to Market Economy Status and to grant this status to China only when it has fulfilled the criteria;

IPRs and counterfeiting

36. Notes with concern that, although China has made progress in the streamlining of its intellectual property legislation, the effective enforcement of IPRs remains highly problematic;

37. Calls on China to increase its efforts to address the lack of implementation and the enforcement of IPRs; stresses the importance of the harmonisation of central and regional trade policy and regulation in China and its unified implementation throughout the country;

38. Is concerned about the scale of production of counterfeit and pirated goods inside China, which remains at an alarmingly high level; calls on the Commission, in cooperation with the Chinese authorities at national and regional level, to continue its fight against counterfeiting;

39. Expresses great concern about the increasing number of utility model and design patents in China that are often copies or minor modifications of existing European technology and do not contribute to real innovation;

40. Believes that, as China becomes more innovative, it is in its best interests to protect IPRs; believes, however, that regulations requiring the exclusive registration of innovations in China would heavily constrain business activities, prevent China benefiting from innovation and devalue the "Made in China" brand;

Customs

41. Welcomes the signing of a joint IPR Customs Enforcement Action Plan, aimed at enhancing custom cooperation on seizures of counterfeit goods and implementing concrete measures to reduce counterfeit sales; calls on the Commission to negotiate with China on its conditions in order to take part in the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA);

42. Asks the Commission to intensify the cooperation in the Customs Cooperation Agreement with the Chinese authorities aimed at trade facilitation;

43. Asks the Commission, as a follow-up to the 2005 Memorandum of Understanding on textiles, to continue to discuss developments in the EU -China textile trade dialogue and in the High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue Mechanism (HLM); calls on the Commission to follow closely the textiles imports originating in China;

Social and environmental impact

44. Expresses its serious concern about the high levels of pollution caused by China's industry and its growing consumption of natural resources, in particular those obtained from unsustainable sources; is aware of the shared European responsibility for the situation, given that a high share of Chinese industrial production is owned by European firms or ordered by European firms and retailers for consumption in Europe;

45. Stresses that the recent years of high economic growth in China have not benefited all segments of the Chinese population and that the social gap between the rich and the poor has never been as significant as now; believes that a fairer distribution of the wealth is necessary to enable socially sustainable development in China;

46. Welcomes China’s activities in the environmental sector in the context of the preparation of the 2008 Olympic Games; calls upon the Chinese Government to contribute actively to the success of the United Nations Climate Conference (COP 15) to be held from 30 November to 11 December 2009 in Copenhagen by encouraging its financial sector to prepare itself for the introduction of an international emissions trading scheme;

47. Urges China to participate in COP 15 and accept its responsibilities by taking up its global share for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and fighting climate change;

48. Urges the Chinese authorities to take concrete steps to adopt and encourage the use of technologies and practices to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; notes that promoting green business technologies will be essential if the Chinese Government wants to maintain economic growth while protecting its environment; recognises that China cannot be expected to ask its population to carry the burden of limiting greenhouse gas emissions without action by the West;

49. Is concerned about child labour in China; asks the Commission to address this issue as soon as possible and asks the Chinese Government to maximise their efforts to remove the underlying causes in order to end this phenomenon;

50. Urges China to ratify key International Labour Organisation (ILO) Conventions, in particular Convention No 87 on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise, as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) which China has signed but not yet ratified;

51. Welcomes China's transposition of International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) into domestic law; encourages China to continue adopting IFRS while ensuring its implementation in practice; request the Commission to monitor closely the adoption and implementation of IFRS in China;

52. Calls on European businesses operating in China to apply the highest international standards and best practices in corporate social responsibility with regard to workers and the environment, and to agree to mandatory monitoring by independent agencies;

53. Expresses its concern about working conditions and employees’ rights in China; calls on the Commission to refer to compliance with the core ILO standards systematically in its formal and informal relations with China;

54. Calls on the European Union and China to cooperate on standards on cars, trucks, heavy vehicles, aviation and shipping, in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions and make the standards more climate-friendly;

55. Calls for cooperation on the regulation, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals (REACH) between the EU and China;

56. Is alarmed by the recent spate of incidents involving unsafe Chinese products and in particular by those involving children’s toys, food and medicines; welcomes the Chinese Government’s determination to tackle this problem; calls on the Commission to reinforce support and coordination with the Chinese authorities in this field;

57. Welcomes the efforts the Commission has made in this area, thanks to the new system of quarterly reporting on Chinese enforcement actions to track down at source dangerous goods notified within the Rapex-China system, thus increasing European consumer safety;

58. Underlines the importance of the trilateral contacts between the Commission and the US and Chinese administrations aimed at improving the global governance of product safety; in this area; considers that it would be extremely useful for concrete shape to be given as soon as possible to the Commission’s proposal to establish a joint working party on product and import safety within the Transatlantic Economic Council;

Future Steps

59. Notes that Chinese society has changed greatly during the last 30 years and that lasting progress can take place only slowly; believes that democracy requires an effective civil society, which is in turn strengthened by trade and economic relations with the EU; therefore believes that “change through trade” is a way to aid China's transformation towards being an open and democratic society benefiting all sections of society; while regretting that the intensification of economic and trade relations between the EU and China has not gone hand in hand with substantial progress with regard to the human rights dialogue; believes that further reforms, especially in the environmental and social areas, are needed in order to ensure overall and lasting progress;

60. Regrets China's postponement of the EU-China summit which was to be held on 1 December in Lyon given the current financial and economic crisis and stresses the utmost importance of a constructive dialogue on climate change as well as mutual understanding on the main trade issues at such a critical moment for the world economy; hopes that such a Summit will take place as soon as possible;

61. Calls upon China to continue to fully contribute to efforts that speed up the negotiations under the Doha Development Agenda;

62. Stresses that the new EU-China PCA should aim to establish free and fair trade based on the enforcement of clauses on human rights, environmental, sustainable development and social issues;

63. Welcomes the establishment of the High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue Mechanism (HLM) as a forum for further developing EU-China relations at a strategic level and considers that an important element of this process is that the HLM results in the satisfactory resolution of trade irritants; calls on the Commission to put more ambition into the HLM by appointing one of its Vice -Presidents of the newly established European Commission in 2009 as the coordinating Commissioner, leading the HLM- delegation of the EC;

64. Calls on the Commission to ensure that all existing research and development (R & D) agreements work effectively with China to promote cooperation on R & D; recommends concentrating R & D efforts between EU and China more strategically and in a more relevant way in terms of technology breakthroughs, societal needs, environmental disasters and future economic developments; asks both parties to facilitate the transfer of technology and technical know-how by facilitating researchers’ and academics’ exchange programmes;

65. Calls for increased cooperation between European and Chinese universities and increased mobility for scientists, researchers and students between the EU and China;

66. Supports the continued development of EU-China cooperation on space science, applications and technology; draws the attention of the Council and the Commission to the fact that both China and the EU have gained from a five-year experience of close collaboration in the field of satellite navigation by focusing on the Galileo programme; believes, however, that the time is ripe for adapting this formal cooperation in order to take account of the changes brought about by the launching of the deployment phase of the European Global Navigation Satellite System and by the arrival of the Chinese Compass system; considers it essential, in this light, that the relationship evolves to take into account the coexistence of the Compass and Galileo programmes, in particular to ensure their compatibility in the interest of the global users;

67. Urges the Commission and the Chinese Government to explore together means of developing a parliamentary dimension to the work of the HLM, mandated to reach out to the broader stakeholder community and to give a voice to their concerns;

68. Supports the efforts made by the Commission to establish an SME friendly business environment through the adoption of the Communication entitled "Think Small First - A on the Small Business Act for Europe" (COM(2008)394), and in this regard welcomes the intention to launch a ‘Gateway to China’ scheme, with particular focus on establishing an Executive Training Programme in China to promote European SMEs’ access to the Chinese market by 2010;

69. Calls on China to promote cooperation between Chinese universities and EU SMEs to enhance SME innovation in China, thus creating more jobs and increasing trade and economic output; calls also on China to promote cooperation between the two sides to improve and enhance climate-friendly techniques and to minimise greenhouse gas emission caused by EU SMEs in China;

70. Calls on the Commission to promote business-to-business cooperation, to raise awareness of the Market Access Database website and to improve dispute settlement mechanisms;

71. Encourages programmes designed to increase China-EU trade participation, such as the Executive Training Programme; calls on the Commission to increase technical assistance to China in order to implement health and safety rules and to improve customs cooperation;

72. Believes that the EU and China are becoming more interdependent and that the complexities and importance of EU-China relations require greater coordination among the Member States and with the Commission; therefore welcomes the last EU-China Summit and the resulting high-level trade mechanism dialogue of April 2008; reminds China that it must fulfil its obligations arising from international agreements, for example in the area of copyright law and labour law; is looking forward to an effective and outcome-oriented dialogue with China concerning global challenges; regrets the decision of the Chinese authorities to postpone the 11th EU-China Summit; underlines that long-term trade relations between the EU and China should be supported, and expects that the EU-China summit will be rescheduled soon in view of the importance of the relationship; invites China to play a constructive role in regional cooperation; endorses the strategic partnership between the EU and China; welcomes, in this context, the ongoing negotiations on a new PCA, yet takes the view that the conclusion of the negotiations should not be considered in isolation from the human rights situation in China; urges the Commission to increase transparency in the negotiation of the PCA between the EU and China;

73. Considers that the EXPO 2010 in Shanghai, China, will be a great opportunity for the European business sector in terms of its exposure, network and presentation to the Chinese public and the Chinese business sector; urges the Commission to ensure that the EU business sector will have a stand at EXPO 2010;

74. Calls on the Commission to support the setting up of a China-EU Business Council, similar to the US-EU Business Council;

o

o        o

75. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and Commission, and the governments and parliaments of the Member States and to the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Chinese National People's Congress.

(1)

OJ C 181, 3.8.2007, p. 17.

(2)

OJ C 305 E, 14.12.06, p. 167.

(3)

OJ C 233 E, 28.9.2006, p. 103.

(4)

Texts adopted, P6_TA-PROV(2008)0362.


EXPLANATORY STATEMENT

Introduction

Chinese economic expansion over recent years has expand enormously, whereas Europe has been China's biggest trading partner since 2006 and China has been Europe's second largest trading partner since 2007. Rapid export driven development has led China to now account for around 6% of world trade and has resulted in the EU growing to be its most important trading partner. In 2007 alone, Chinese exports to the EU grew by 18.7% to be worth some €231bn. The EU's trade deficit with China currently stands at €160bn and is continuing to rise.

However, faced with these figures, it is important to remember that China has now emerged as Europe’s second largest trading partner, representing a significant and growing export market. In 2007, EU exports to China also grew by a respectable 12% and were valued at €71.6bn.This has occurred despite major obstacles placed in the way of European firms wishing to do business in China.

The present trade imbalance is a matter of concern, but it should not be seen primarily in terms of growing Chinese exports to Europe. China also offers opportunities to EU companies in China. We should concentrate on ensuring a level playing field so that opportunities for growth are available to both sides. It is estimated that China’s non-tariff barriers towards the EU are annually worth more than €21bn in terms of lost business opportunities to EU companies.

Market Access, the implementation of Chinese commitments under the WTO and free and fair trade

The EU is committed to free and fair trade, and China’s smooth integration as a responsible and reliable partner into the global economic system. However, the enforcement of fair and predictable rules for access to the Chinese market is essential for a positive perception by EU operators of trade relations with China and its standing as a responsible trading partner.

China has been a member of the WTO since 11 November 2001 and has enjoyed substantial benefits. Although China has made substantial progress in complying with its WTO commitments and while market access has improved in some sectors, there remain serious grounds for concern on a number of WTO implementation issues.

Barriers and Standards

In its regulatory requirements, China has introduced various restrictions not foreseen under its Protocol of Accession to the WTO which limit the access of foreign companies to a number of key sectors of major importance for the EU, often through excessive regulatory requirements or “standards”. The Chinese Compulsory Certification (CCC) and other specifications are often used as technical barriers to trade. Thus, for example in the mobile phone and automobile sectors, many standards are similar to those adopted voluntarily in Europe. However, minor, yet mandatory (and costly) differences are often imposed in order to control access to the market. Such practices are in contradiction with China’s undertakings as a signatory of the WTO Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT).

Moreover, the provisions of Chinese law are often ambiguous, as with new anti-trust legislation where despite many similarities with EU competition policy, a number of clauses allow for the protection of state-owned enterprises and of national (economic) security. The main problem, however, is the lack of transparency, both in the legislative process and in the application of the law.

Public procurement

As part of its accession to the WTO, China undertook to join the GPA "as soon as possible". Becoming an observer to the GPA in February 2002 and adopting a new Law on Government Procurement in January 2003, China submitted an initial offer on market access to public contracts in December 2007, which fell far below expectations.

In the context of the negotiations to upgrade the EU-China 1985 Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, the EU and China have agreed to continue discussions on public procurement matters. However, it ought to be borne in mind that the public procurement market in Europe, currently worth some €1900 bn, is already largely open to Chinese companies. It is therefore incumbent upon China to make the necessary efforts in this regard in order to ensure firstly that the existing legislation is fairly and transparently applied and enforced and, secondly, that these negotiations are concluded in such a way as to ensure a level playing field for both sides.

EU presence and assistance, especially. to SME's

SMEs can be seen as the motors of innovation and economic development and physical presence in the market place in order to provide assistance and to promote cooperation is therefore highly important. SMEs face the same challenges in doing business in China as larger companies, but due to their size are often less equipped to deal with them. The Commission established, in 2008, a China IRP/SME Helpdesk to assist EU SMEs in protecting and enforcing their IPR in China. The continuation, development and strengthening of this kind of help is essential if European SMEs are to expand their activities in China. Various EU technical assistance programmes have been put in place to support the further integration of China into the world economy, to assist the Chinese Government in implementing its obligations and commitments within the WTO and to increase the capacity of China in the process of wider economic, regulatory, legal and administrative reform necessary for further trade liberalisation.

Free and fair trade

Anti dumping / Market Economy Status (MES)

Your rapporteur is concerned about the number of anti-dumping cases against Chinese producers. Trade defence measures are an instrument to ensure fair conditions of trade between China and the EU, but the Commission should seek to resolve trade disputes through dialogue.

China's request for market economy status (MES) dates back to 2003. In June 2004 the first preliminary assessment was prepared and they were then granted the second out of the 5 criteria (1. state influence in business decisions, 2. "carry over" from the old system, privatisation 3. accounting/corporate governance, 4. bankruptcy/property rights, 5. financial sector). Your rapporteur believes that in many areas China's economy still does not fulfil the criteria by which it could be considered a market economy and considers, therefore, that the Commission should agree to the granting of MES only when China has fulfilled the required criteria.

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) and Counterfeiting

Over recent years, China has made considerable progress to revise its legislation on IPR. However, the alarming levels of counterfeiting and piracy both on its territory and in exports demonstrate that more efforts are needed to ensure full compliance with the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPs). This is important for China’s credibility as a key trade partner. Indeed, according the EUCCC Business Confidence Survey carried out in 2007, IPR protection ranks second-highest on the list of major obstacles to doing business in China. Only 12% of respondents stated that IPR was not an issue for them.

Law enforcement appears to be inconsistent for several reasons, including the complexity of the administrative structure and procedures, the lack of specialised staff, the low deterrence of sanctions and local protectionism. Nevertheless, the Chinese Government has become increasingly responsive to calls for reform, particularly in relation to criminal enforcement against counterfeiting by lowering the thresholds for criminal prosecution. China’s customs regulations have also been revised, in order to strengthen border enforcement and make it easier to transfer cases to the courts. Still, the scale and scope of the problem continue to grow.

Many associated issues surround the question of IPR protection. EU companies are actively encouraged to bring new technology into China, but the export of any future developments is strictly regulated. Compliance with these regulations is time consuming, complex and costly. Production facilities for counterfeit and pirated goods frequently disregard both labour rights and health and safety requirements, and pose danger to consumers and, in the case of chemicals, to the wider environment. IPR issues were in the heart of the discussions of the High Level Mechanism on 25 April 2008, while DG Trade and the Chinese Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) have agreed to hold, at least once a year, an “IP Dialogue” on all-encompassing IPR issues. This is undoubtedly a serious matter affecting EU competitiveness; it is, however, also a Chinese problem that must be resolved if China wishes to continue to benefit from a transfer of technology from Europe.

Textiles and Footwear

In 2005, the EU concluded a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with China that limited its textile exports to the EU until 31 December 2007. Other countries concluded similar agreements or took various safeguard measures. Nonetheless, in 2007, the volume of EU imports from China increased by 25 % for textiles and 13 % for clothing compared to 2006. Similar trends were witnessed in the footwear sector.

In September 2007, the EU and China decided to apply a double-checking surveillance system to the most important textile categories in order to ensure a shared responsibility for monitoring trade and to facilitate the transition to a liberalised system following the end of the MoU limitations. This seems to be working reasonably well and a double-monitoring mechanism is preferable to quotas, however this should not lead to an ongoing barrier to free trade.

Social and Environmental Impacts

China has been completely transformed since the 1970s, yet China remains composed several countries in one. Millions have benefited from the new prosperity, but income inequality continues to rise and many, particularly the rural population, continue to live in extreme poverty. Such rapid development has of course inevitably taken its toll on the environment. China now needs to invest in energy efficiency and sustainable clean technology, a process that could be greatly assisted by the transfer of foreign know-how.

Another area of concern has been reports of violation of workers' rights in China, with numerous allegations of forced labour, child labour, discrimination against women and rural workers and complaints regarding the lack of freedom of association. Your rapporteur would urge China to ratify the key ILO Conventions relating to the freedom of association and on the right to organise and to actively combat all forms of exploitation at work, particularly with regard to female workers and children.

Finally, China needs to do more to ensure product safety. Recent well-documented cases of unsafe products, particularly those involving children’s toys, have caused great concern in Europe. The Chinese determination to tackle this problem with a "special battle" against poor product quality and supervision is noted and welcomed. However, until safety can be assured, the Commission and Member States must be especially vigilant in order to prevent dangerous items from reaching the European market.

Future Steps

Partnership and Co-operation agreement (PCA)

The EU agreed to start negotiations for a new PCA with China in December 2005 although actual negotiations only started in October 2007. The third round took place in September 2008. Your rapporteur believes that the early conclusion of a substantive and comprehensive agreement between the two sides as essential for the future development of relations between the EU and China.

Prevention of problems through channels for bilateral dialogue

In addition to the Joint Committee held annually at Ministerial level, several important dialogues have been established in trade-related areas. The most significant of these is the new High Level Economic and Trade Mechanism, referred to earlier, that was agreed upon at the EU-China Summit in Beijing in November 2007. The HLM was formally launched in April 2008 and will strengthen dialogue between the European Commission and the State Council of China. Bringing together senior decision-makers from the Chinese leadership and their counterparts from the European Commission, this Mechanism provides a new tool to address issues of mutual concern especially in the areas of investment, market access and intellectual property rights protection and other strategic issues related to trade.

These developments are particularly to be welcomed as they provide a means of resolving issues through structured dialogue. In this, context your rapporteur would urge the Commission to explore with the Chinese authorities as to how a parliamentary dimension might be brought into the work of the HLM, similar to that provided by the Group of Advisers that allows for an EP and Congressional input into the Transatlantic Economic Council. The European Commission should support the installing of a China-EU Business Council, similar to the US-EU Business Council.

Conclusions

Europe's trade relations with China should be based on engagement and strategic partnership that enshrines the principle of reciprocity, fair competition and trade, according to our common values and adherence to WTO rules.

For its part, China must understand that there is genuine concern in Europe over the lack of reciprocity in market access and over other issues such as IPR, which fuel demands for restrictions on Chinese imports. The best means of countering these pressures is to take seriously each other’s concerns so as to ensure a level playing field that provides for free and fair trade and cooperation to our mutual advantage.


OPINION of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (3.12.2008)

for the Committee on International Trade

on trade and economic relations with China

(2008/2171(INI))

Rapporteur: Vural Öger

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Foreign Affairs calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Notes the rise that has made China a global player; supports the positive role it plays in several international peace-keeping efforts and in the DPRK 6-party talks; believes that increased global influence and increased responsibility go hand-in-hand; asks that China reconsider its “no-strings” aid to dubious regimes, including as regards arms supplies; believes that some of the world's most intractable problems, such as climate change, poverty, food supply and safety, disaster relief, the fight against terrorism and nuclear proliferation, cannot be solved without China, and therefore calls on China seriously to consider measures to tackle climate change, fight poverty and stop nuclear proliferation;

2.   Notes that Chinese society has changed much during the last 30 years and that lasting progress can happen only slowly; believes that democracy requires an effective civil society, which is in turn strengthened by trade and economic relations with the EU; therefore believes that “change through trade” is a way to aid China's transformation towards being an open and democratic society benefiting all sections of society; while regretting that the intensification of economic and trade relations between the EU and China has not gone hand in hand with substantial progress with regard to the human rights dialogue, believes that further reforms, especially in the environmental and social areas, are needed to ensure overall and lasting progress;

3.   Urges China to fulfil its commitments within the World Trade Organization, notably by dealing with outstanding problems such as protection of intellectual property rights, discrimination against foreign companies, and barriers to market access in a number of sectors;

4.   Is concerned at the lack of the rule of law and basic human rights such as freedom of association, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press and freedom of religion; is deeply disturbed by the use of systematic torture and the lack of judicial independence; calls on China to respect minority rights, e.g. those of Tibetans and Uighurs; calls on China to respect women's and children's rights by ending forced abortion and forced sterilisation; calls on China to abolish the offence of “threatening public security”; asks China to allow unrestricted internet access and to do away with the “golden shield” system of internet censorship; recognises the growing awareness of human rights among Chinese citizens; calls for implementation of the moratorium on the death penalty as requested by the UN General Assembly, and regrets the fact that recent executions have been reviewed and authorised by China's Supreme Court; believes that, overall, the cause of human rights in China is not advancing and that there are still major steps to take towards being an open and democratic society and respecting human rights;

5.   Urges China to abide by its commitment to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights;

6.   Is concerned at China's cancellation of a visit to China by Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights in view of Parliament's award to Hu Jia of the Sakharov Prize 2008;

7.   Regrets the lack of progress achieved during the negotiations between the People's Republic of China and envoys of the Dalai Lama, and the current breakdown in those negotiations; reiterates its call for a cessation of all forms of persecution of the Tibetan people and for Tibetans to be guaranteed a level of autonomy that permits them to enjoy to the full their political, cultural and religious rights, especially by ceasing Han Chinese settlements in Tibet and by overhauling the “patriotic education” policy;

8.   Welcomes the rapprochement between China and Taiwan, whilst urging China to continue an engaging and constructive dialogue with Taiwan and to ensure Taiwan's active participation in the World Health Organization and ASEAN Plus Three; encourages China to allow elections by universal suffrage in Hong Kong;

9.   Is concerned at China's growing military budget; supports the continuation of the arms embargo on China; notes China's very active pursuit of energy security and natural resources, e.g. in Africa, and in this respect welcomes the Commission's communication entitled “The EU, Africa and China: Towards trilateral dialogue and cooperation”; believes that the EU needs a result-oriented common foreign energy policy and an effective dialogue with China in this regard; welcomes the Commission's proposal for the establishment of trilateral dialogue and cooperation between the European Union, China and Africa aimed at promoting peace and security and achieving the Millennium Development Goals in Africa;

10. Believes that the EU and China are becoming more interdependent and that the complexities and importance of EU-China relations require greater coordination among the Member States and with the Commission; therefore welcomes the last EU-China Summit and the resulting high-level trade mechanism dialogue of April 2008; reminds China that it must fulfil its obligations arising from international agreements, for example in the area of copyright law and labour law; is looking forward to an effective and outcome-oriented dialogue with China concerning global challenges; regrets the decision of the Chinese authorities to postpone the 11th EU-China Summit; underlines that long-term trade relations between the EU and China should be supported, and expects that the EU-China summit will be rescheduled soon in view of the importance of the relationship; invites China to play a constructive role in regional cooperation; endorses the strategic partnership between the EU and China; welcomes, in this context, the ongoing negotiations on a new Partnership and Cooperation Agreement, yet takes the view that the conclusion of the negotiations should not be considered in isolation from the human rights situation in China; urges the Commission to increase transparency in the negotiation of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and China.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

1.12.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

23

0

0

Members present for the final vote

Christopher Beazley, Angelika Beer, Bastiaan Belder, Monika Beňová, André Brie, Marco Cappato, Véronique De Keyser, Giorgos Dimitrakopoulos, Richard Howitt, Maria Eleni Koppa, Helmut Kuhne, Vytautas Landsbergis, Philippe Morillon, Annemie Neyts-Uyttebroeck, Raimon Obiols i Germà, Vural Öger, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, Ioan Mircea Paşcu, Flaviu Călin Rus, István Szent-Iványi, Charles Tannock

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Laima Liucija Andrikienė, Tunne Kelam


OPINION of the Committee on Development (11.12.2008)

for the Committee on International Trade

on Trade and Economic Relations with China

(2008/2171(INI))

Rapporteur: Johan Van Hecke

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Development calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Welcomes China's achievements in lifting 350 million of its citizens out of extreme poverty through far-reaching economic reforms, which have benefited above all the urban population; is concerned about the large rural population living in poverty which has not yet benefited from the boom, and calls on China to continue its efforts to attain the Millennium Development Goals for the benefit of the more deprived members of its population; stresses that, as a member of the UN, China is committed to the MDGs and should also contribute to pursuing their achievement in developing countries;

2.   Believes that today's open trading system could stimulate economic activity between China and developing countries to the possible benefit of both sides and could be an unprecedented opportunity for economic growth and for their integration into the world economy, on the condition that trade policies are consistent with development objectives and that economic growth translates into poverty reduction;

3.   Is concerned that the economic boom in China may be short-lived unless long-term security is provided; therefore encourages China to strengthen its financial regulatory framework in line with evolving international practice;

4.   Recalls that China, as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), has affirmed its commitment to respecting core labour rights; in this context, calls on the EU to encourage China to improve workers' rights, including freedom of association, and to put an end to child and forced labour;

5.   Calls on the Chinese authorities to live up to the promises they made before the Olympic Games in 2008 on human and minority rights, democracy and the rule of law; and remains deeply concerned about the continuing repression of Tibetans and other minorities in China, as well as the ongoing restrictions on freedom of expression in the media and politics in China; calls on the Commission to insist on the strengthening of the human rights clause in negotiations with China about a renewed Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA); calls on the Council and the Commission to address these issues in their dialogue with China;

6.   Wishes to see a closer fit between human rights on the one hand and trade relations and security on the other, and urges the EU to ensure that closer trade links with China are conditional on reforms in the field of human rights;

7.   Stresses the need to promote, in the framework of EU-China economic and trade relations, the principle of corporate social responsibility, respect for the fundamental rights proclaimed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and sustainable development in the economic, social and environmental spheres; calls on the Commission to ensure that those principles are applied and to be particularly attentive regarding the ILO conventions on trade union independence and child labour;

8.   While fully aware of the need for China to continue on its development path, deplores the lack of regional local implementation of ecological and environmental planning in China which has led to huge problems in air, water and soil pollution which are a major threat to the sustainability of industrial and agricultural activity as well as a threat to the health of the population; calls on the Chinese government to take concrete steps towards the effective implementation of environmental laws in China as in developing countries; recalls the Joint Declaration on Climate Change of 2005 between China and the EU, which established a Partnership on Climate Change and the need to speed up its implementation; highlights the fact that the low environmental standards of Chinese projects in developing countries can do serious harm in regions that are the most likely to suffer from climate change, and can also lead to the disruption of livelihoods; therefore, calls on the Commission to address the environmental impact of the Chinese presence in Africa in its trilateral dialogue with Africa and China;

9.   Welcomes the Commission Communication entitled "EU, Africa, China: Towards trilateral dialogue and cooperation"; stresses that Parliament is of the view that priority projects should also focus on health and education;

10. Welcomes Chinese investments in Africa and Latin America but is extremely concerned about the lack of any reference to existing social, environmental and human rights standards for foreign investment, as developed in the last few decades by international lending institutions, UN agencies and governmental donors; calls on the Commission to monitor developments closely to ensure that such activities, as well as European activities, are not to the financial, environmental or social detriment of the local populations in developing countries, whereas imports of Chinese consumer goods have proved to undercut local production and cost African jobs; underlines the importance of the transparent management of natural resources as they are key to development, and therefore calls on the EU to actively engage China and Chinese companies to support the Extractives Industry Transparency Initiative (EITI) whereas certain Chinese contracts to exploit natural resources are not sufficiently transparent; therefore calls on the Commission to initiate a dialogue in this regard through the EU-China-Africa trialogue swiftly and to forge a partnership of equals aimed at enhancing African ownership and at addressing common challenges;

11. Stresses that, as a member of the UN Security Council, China has a responsibility to promote peace and security and human rights; believes that China could do more in terms of using its influence as an important commercial and investment partner in several countries to promote peace and security and human rights;

12. Underlines the responsibilities of a global economic power and permanent member of the UN Security Council; therefore welcomes the role which China has played in several international peace-keeping efforts on the African continent, but remains concerned about Chinese arms supplies to developing countries destined for illicit or destabilising use;

13. Calls on the Commission to review the status of China as a typical recipient of overseas development aid and to calibrate its cooperation programme accordingly;

14. Calls on the Chinese government, in the light of its GDP, to increase gradually its official development assistance (ODA) to African nations, particularly in relation to the infrastructure, agriculture and health sectors; believes that possible coordination between EU and Chinese aid to African nations would prevent overlapping projects and lead to more efficient use of resources; recommends that China be more transparent in its granting of debt relief and loans to African nations.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

8.12.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

18

5

0

Members present for the final vote

Margrete Auken, Alessandro Battilocchio, Josep Borrell Fontelles, Danutė Budreikaitė, Marie-Arlette Carlotti, Nirj Deva, Fernando Fernández Martín, Juan Fraile Cantón, Alain Hutchinson, Glenys Kinnock, Maria Martens, Gay Mitchell, Horst Posdorf, Frithjof Schmidt, Jürgen Schröder, Johan Van Hecke

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Miguel Angel Martínez Martínez, Manolis Mavrommatis, Csaba Őry, Tobias Pflüger, Renate Weber

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Emanuel Jardim Fernandes, Francesco Ferrari, Zita Gurmai, Emilio Menéndez del Valle, Ramona Nicole Mănescu, Justas Vincas Paleckis, Leopold Józef Rutowicz


OPINION of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs (3.12.2008)

for the Committee on International Trade

on Trade and Economic Relations with China

(2008/2171(INI))

Rapporteur: Jorgo Chatzimarkakis

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.  Takes the view that China, as one of the engines of world growth, should play its full part in ensuring that the global economic order develops in a sustainable and balanced way;

2.  Notes that the Chinese economy would need to encourage a more equitable income distribution and more private consumption in order to rebalance its current account; stresses the need for an effective appreciation of its currency, which could be a way to both reduce inflationary pressures and improve external imbalances;

3.  Welcomes China’s activities in the environmental sector in the context of the preparation of the 2008 Olympic Games; calls upon the Chinese Government to contribute actively to the success of the Copenhagen Conference on the Kyoto successor arrangements by encouraging its financial sector to prepare itself for the introduction of an international emissions trading scheme;

4.  Notes that between 1995 and 2007 China was affected by 53 anti- dumping sanctions, which amounts to 20 % of the total EU punitive tariff duties imposed for unfair competition, in particular by state-owned enterprises, through subsidies;

5.  Is concerned that China is taking no decisive steps to combat breaches of intellectual property rights, views this as a potential obstacle to the further development of trade between the European Union and China;

6.  Expresses its concern about working conditions and employees’ rights in China; calls on the Commission to refer to compliance with the core ILO standards systematically in its formal and informal relations with China;

7.  Believes that deep, liquid, open, transparent and well-regulated financial markets are capable of fostering economic growth, considers that Chinese securities, banking and insurance sectors are underdeveloped, and encourages China to participate fully in the global debate on improving the regulatory and supervisory framework for the financial markets;

8.  Stresses the importance of EU-China regulatory and supervisory cooperation and convergence in line with global standards;

9.  Calls for better market access for non-Chinese financial services and demands that ownership restrictions of equity investment in Chinese-funded financial institutions be lifted, in line with commitments that China has made to the WTO, in particular in the banking and insurance sector;

10. Welcomes China's transposition of IFRS into domestic law; encourages China to continue adopting IFRS while ensuring its implementation in practice; request the Commission to monitor closely the adoption and implementation of IFRS in China;

11. Stresses the importance of Chinese involvement and cooperation with the IMF regarding the development of a global code of conduct for sovereign wealth funds, which is likely to lead to a higher degree of transparency.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

2.12.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

25

1

0

Members present for the final vote

Mariela Velichkova Baeva, Paolo Bartolozzi, Zsolt László Becsey, Sebastian Valentin Bodu, Sharon Bowles, Udo Bullmann, David Casa, Manuel António dos Santos, Christian Ehler, Jonathan Evans, José Manuel García-Margallo y Marfil, Jean-Paul Gauzès, Robert Goebbels, Donata Gottardi, Louis Grech, Othmar Karas, Wolf Klinz, Astrid Lulling, Gay Mitchell, Sirpa Pietikäinen, John Purvis, Peter Skinner, Margarita Starkevičiūtė, Ivo Strejček, Sahra Wagenknecht

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Harald Ettl


OPINION of the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy (15.12.2008)

for the Committee on International Trade

on Trade and Economic Relations with China

(2008/2171(INI))

Rapporteur: Romana Jordan Cizelj

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on Industry, Research and Energy calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

1.   Notes that China’s growing demands for energy and raw materials and increased greenhouse gas emissions represent a huge challenge to development and environmental goals and security of energy supply worldwide; stresses that the emissions trading scheme must be global;

2.   Underlines China’s global responsibility to ensure its economic growth is environmentally sustainable; stresses that a positive approach by China will be critical for the success of negotiations on a post-2012 Climate Change agreement; notes the potential threat of carbon leakage if insufficient action is taken, particularly for the European Union industries that already adhere to legally binding targets; requests work with China (and other major trading partners) on WTO-compatible ‘border adjustment measures’ which respect, in a fair and sustainable way, existing differences, with the goal of eliminating these in an agreeable time-frame;

3.  Calls for enhanced cooperation between the EU and China to promote the transfer of low-carbon technology, in particular energy efficiency and renewables; stresses the critical importance of developing and deploying carbon capture and storage in China, given the importance of coal to its economy; calls on the Commission to examine ways of supporting further the exchange of best practice with China on the issue of sustainable development;

4.   Calls for increased cooperation on climate-friendly techniques between Chinese and European regions and cities;

5.   Calls on the Commission to ensure that all existing research and development (R & D) agreements work effectively with China to promote cooperation on R & D; recommends concentrating R & D efforts between EU and China more strategically and in a more relevant way in terms of technology breakthroughs, societal needs, environmental urgencies and future economic developments; asks both parties to facilitate the transfer of technology and technical know-how by facilitating researchers’ and academics’ exchange programmes;

6.    Calls for increased cooperation between European and Chinese universities and increased mobility for scientists, researchers and students between the EU and China;

7.    Supports the continued development of EU-China cooperation on space science, applications and technology; draws the attention of the Council and the Commission to the fact that both China and the EU have gained from a five-year experience of close collaboration in the field of satellite navigation by focusing on the Galileo programme; believes, however, that the time is ripe for adapting this formal cooperation in order to take account of the changes brought about by the launching of the deployment phase of the European Global Navigation Satellite System and by the arrival of the Chinese COMPASS system; considers it essential, in this light, that the relationship evolves to take into account the coexistence of the Compass and Galileo programmes, in particular to ensure their compatibility in the interest of the global users;

8.   Welcomes the formal launch of the High-Level Economic and Trade Mechanism in April 2008; hopes that it will contribute to better operation of the expanding commercial relations between the EU and China, as well as to the establishment of an open, transparent and non-discriminatory regulatory framework for business;

9.   Requests that the Commission works still further, and more closely, with European standard and standard management organisations which are operating successfully in China, to ensure consistency in standardisation and conformity procedures and assessment;

10. Requests that the Commission ensure that, with regard to consumer safety, all European standards are met once a product or service is targeted for export to the EU; requests an overview from the Commission of existing loopholes (legal or standard driven); requests that the Council and the Commission ensure that all WTO and EU sanitary and phytosanitary measures are included in the relevant chapters of the EU-China Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and wishes to be informed about any departure from such an understanding;

11. Requests that the Council and the Commission evaluate existing export restrictions between the EU and China because of dual-use export restrictions with regard to high-tech products and services; requests that the Commission compare those specific EU-China restrictions with restrictions between China and its other major trading partners;

12. Calls on China and the EU to remove barriers which hamper the ability of European companies to invest in China and transfer the cleanest technologies; notes that intellectual property rights protection is a particular concern for European companies, which are also discouraged from developing new intellectual property in China by restrictions on its transfer abroad; notes that public procurement in energy projects in China often excludes or discourages foreign companies from investing;

13. Calls on the Commission to evaluate, as early as possible, the impact of the financial and economic crisis on relevant European industry and service sectors, which play a crucial role in defining the export-import relationship between the EU and China; requests that this evaluation be sent to Parliament as soon as a clear trend is recognisable;

14. Requests from the Commission a full overview – sector by sector – of changes occurring in the European industry and service sector since and because China became a member of the WTO; requests that this overview include an evaluation of relevant shifts in the supplier distribution chain across Asia since China’s entry into the WTO in so far as it affects the EU;

15. Calls on the Commission to work with Member States to give more support and incentives for EU companies investing in China, in particular SMEs; welcomes the fact that a European SME centre has been set up in China with the aim of facilitating access to, and enhancing the competitiveness of European companies on, the Chinese market; calls on the Commission, the Member States and European companies to ensure that international labour standards and health and safety requirements are met when they conduct business with China;

16. Calls on China to promote cooperation between Chinese universities and EU SMEs to enhance SME innovation in China, thus creating more jobs and increasing trade and economic output; calls also on China to promote cooperation between the two parties to improve and enhance climate-friendly techniques to minimise greenhouse gas emission caused by EU SMEs in China;

17. Calls also on China to adopt and apply international standards; notes that this will ensure that Chinese exports to the EU meet acceptable quality and safety standards and ensure that EU companies investing in China gain fair market access with minimal bureaucratic obstacles and have a more transparent standards framework;

18. Calls on the European Union and China to cooperate on standards on cars, trucks, heavy vehicles, aviation and shipping, in order to lower greenhouse gas emissions and make them more climate-friendly;

19. Calls on China to favour more economically sustainable, environmentally friendly and socially just development; believes that all existing dialogues between the EU and China offer a great opportunity to focus on such challenges;

20. Calls on China to apply trade union freedom, which is guaranteed by the Chinese constitution;

21. Calls for increased compliance with WTO regulations on issues of anti-dumping and anti-subsidising; is concerned about the number of anti-dumping sanctions that the European Union has had to impose on China;

22. Calls for cooperation on the regulation, evaluation and authorisation of chemicals (REACH) between the EU and China.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

11.12.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

28

0

0

Members present for the final vote

John Attard-Montalto, Jan Březina, Jorgo Chatzimarkakis, Dragoş Florin David, Den Dover, Nicole Fontaine, Adam Gierek, Norbert Glante, Fiona Hall, Reino Paasilinna, Vladimír Remek, Teresa Riera Madurell, Britta Thomsen, Catherine Trautmann, Claude Turmes, Nikolaos Vakalis

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Etelka Barsi-Pataky, Ivo Belet, Manuel António dos Santos, Neena Gill, Vladimir Urutchev, Lambert van Nistelrooij

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Louis Grech, Aurelio Juri, Sepp Kusstatscher, Eva Lichtenberger, Rosa Miguélez Ramos, María Sornosa Martínez


OPINION of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (3.12.2008)

for the Committee on International Trade

on trade and economic relations with China

(2008/2171(INI))

Rapporteur: Christopher Heaton-Harris

SUGGESTIONS

The Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection calls on the Committee on International Trade, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:

WTO

1.   Calls for further dialogue to enable China to address the outstanding areas of concern for EU industry, such as the enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights, transparency and environmental, social and health standards;

2.   Calls on China to join the WTO Government Procurement Agreement and to open large-scale infrastructure projects to investment and trade;

3.   Encourages China to ease the way for European products that are imported onto the Chinese market and furthermore to strive for a more balanced trade deficit, while fostering a transparent trade environment equally beneficial to Chinese and European undertakings;

4.   Urges China to take further steps towards a more competitive market, acknowledges China’s improvements in this field, and calls on the Commission to support China to implement the necessary mechanisms for developing a competitive market;

Intellectual Property Rights

5.   Believes that, as China becomes more innovative, it is in its best interests to protect Intellectual Property Rights; believes, however, that regulations requiring the exclusive registration of innovations in China would heavily constrain business activities, prevent China benefiting from innovation and devalue the "Made in China" brand;

Product safety

6.   Welcomes the significant efforts China has made with respect to the improvement of product safety, including toy safety, and calls on the Commission and the Member States to reinforce cooperation with the Chinese Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) in order to ensure product safety on a broader scale, with particular focus on the less-developed regions of China; calls on the European Union’s Member States, institutions and companies to provide greater European-level technical assistance to Chinese companies and the Chinese authorities in the interests of greater investment in safety, quality and quality checks geared, above all, to the products of small manufacturers, safety and quality checks on which appear to be one of the authorities’ major problems;

7.   Welcomes the efforts the Commission has made in this area, thanks to the new system of quarterly reporting on Chinese enforcement actions to track down at source dangerous goods notified within the Rapex-China system, thus increasing European consumer safety;

8.   Underlines the importance of the trilateral contacts between the Commission and the US and Chinese administrations aimed at improving the global governance of product safety; in this area, it would be extremely useful for concrete shape to be given as soon as possible to the Commission’s proposal to establish a joint working party on product and import safety within the Transatlantic Economic Council;

9.   Calls on the Commission to promote business-to-business cooperation, to raise awareness of the Market Access Database website and to improve dispute settlement mechanisms;

10. Encourages programmes designed to increase China-EU trade participation, such as the Executive Training Programme; calls on the Commission to increase technical assistance to China in order to implement health and safety rules and to improve customs cooperation.

RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

2.12.2008

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

30

0

1

Members present for the final vote

Gabriela Creţu, Mia De Vits, Janelly Fourtou, Evelyne Gebhardt, Martí Grau i Segú, Małgorzata Handzlik, Malcolm Harbour, Christopher Heaton-Harris, Anna Hedh, Edit Herczog, Eija-Riitta Korhola, Lasse Lehtinen, Toine Manders, Catiuscia Marini, Arlene McCarthy, Catherine Neris, Bill Newton Dunn, Zita Pleštinská, Zuzana Roithová, Heide Rühle, Leopold Józef Rutowicz, Christel Schaldemose, Andreas Schwab, Eva-Britt Svensson, Marianne Thyssen, Jacques Toubon, Barbara Weiler

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Emmanouil Angelakas, Brigitte Fouré, Joel Hasse Ferreira, Anja Weisgerber

Substitute(s) under Rule 178(2) present for the final vote

Maddalena Calia


RESULT OF FINAL VOTE IN COMMITTEE

Date adopted

20.1.2009

 

 

 

Result of final vote

+:

–:

0:

24

2

1

Members present for the final vote

Kader Arif, Francisco Assis, Carlos Carnero González, Daniel Caspary, Christofer Fjellner, Glyn Ford, Béla Glattfelder, Ignasi Guardans Cambó, Syed Kamall, Alain Lipietz, Caroline Lucas, Marusya Ivanova Lyubcheva, Erika Mann, Helmuth Markov, David Martin, Vural Öger, Georgios Papastamkos, Godelieve Quisthoudt-Rowohl, Peter Šťastný, Gianluca Susta, Iuliu Winkler, Corien Wortmann-Kool

Substitute(s) present for the final vote

Ole Christensen, Dragoş Florin David, Guntars Krasts, Leopold Józef Rutowicz, Jürgen Schröder

Last updated: 28 January 2009Legal notice