EU trade commissioner Peter Mandelson and China’s commerce minister called today for closer trade ties but announced no breakthroughs in talks on import controls and other disputes.
Mr Mandelson said: “We stand to gain much more by opening up our economies to further trade and investment than we have risks to bear.”
Chinese commerce minister Chen Deming said the two sides discussed trade in textiles, steel and services, foreign investment, environmental protection and other issues.
But he gave no details and neither of them reported progress on disputes including US and EU complaints about Chinese taxes on foreign-made car parts and Beijing’s opposition to European anti-dumping measures on imports of Chinese shoes.
Mr Chen said China opposes “trade protectionism” and promised to work with Mr Mandelson to “promote new opportunities” for Chinese and European companies.
The 27-nation European Union reported a €170bn trade deficit with China last year.
European officials complain that Chinese import restrictions and currency controls are adding to the deficit.
European companies complain Beijing is hampering foreign investment in an attempt to nurture Chinese competitors in finance, energy and other industries.
Mr Mandelson, who began a four-day visit to China yesterday, warned that the EU-Chinese trade dialogue had to show “tangible outcomes”.
“There’s a lot of work to do,” he said.
Mr Mandelson was due to meet later with China’s top trade envoy, vice premier Wang Qishan, and Lou Jiwei, chairman of the £108bn (€136.5bn) Chinese sovereign wealth fund.