On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations among the EU and China, the Foreign Trade Association (FTA) has released a position paper that calls for intensified cooperation between both trading blocs to overcome trade barriers and drive substantial progress in the ongoing bilateral investment agreement negotiations. Reaching a deal by the end of 2016 would pave the way for a far-reaching free trade agreement and bring their strategic partnership to an entirely new dimension.
During the EU-China Business Summit yesterday, FTA Director General Christian Ewert gave the following statement:
"This is a milestone year in the EU-China partnership and it is the right time to look at how trade relations have developed over the years and how they can be improved further. Bilateral commerce is of increasing importance, statistics confirm this time after time, but to keep supporting such developments both trading blocs need to promote an even friendlier business environment and increased market integration.
Firstly, it is of crucial importance that the EU fights the misperception of Chinese imports as representing a threat to the Single Market. China is by far the EU's most important sourcing market and mass consumer products have become an integral part of European consumers' behaviour. Restricting their access would notably reduce consumer’s choice and trigger countermeasures from China.
Secondly, European retailers have invested billions in China during the last two decades and we encourage them to keep following this trend. However, we are still missing a level playing field that puts an end to current obstacles like invasive product checks, questionable licensing procedures and Intellectual Property Rights infractions. In 2013, 64% of counterfeit products intercepted at EU borders came from China. The impact on European companies is clearly very negative.
Moreover, a change to the draft law on Governing Foreign NGOs is imperative. While the Chinese government promotes sustainable business practices and European retailers commit to these principles through initiatives like the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) and the Business Environmental Performance Initiative (BEPI), the approval of this draft law would place these activities under strict state supervision, hindering the success of such programmes.
We are confident that both entities will seize the momentum gained so far and will work towards intensifying mutual cooperation and bringing trade relations to the next level".
To read the position paper, please click here.