Wednesday, January 17, 2007

EU, China Begin Talks for New Commercial Treaty

Source: China and EU begin renegotiating commercial relations treaty –

The EU, China’s biggest trading partner, is beginning new negotiations with China on a number of issues, including trade and climate change. Both sides hope that the existing Chinese-European commercial treaty, signed in 1985, will be replaced , but recognize that talks could take years. Human rights protections, standard in all EU agreements, would be a part of any new commercial treaty, but EU negotiators do not expect any objection to such terms. From the Chinese perspective, the biggest potential obstacle is a weapons embargo that China would like the EU to lift.

While these talks progress, both sides are pursuing cooperation in other arenas, as well. EU representatives are seeking Chinese support for a European climate change initiative designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop clean fuel technologies. China expects the EU to grant it market economy status, which, among other things, would offer China more protection against European trade retaliation. The two parties also announced agreements to develop a joint law school, to improve protection of intellectual property rights in China, and to train Chinese students in advanced business skills.

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