China and EU discuss free trade market
Article 1 minute read

China and EU discuss free trade market

16 June 2013

China and the European Union may be moving closer to a bilateral trade agreement, despite the ongoing dispute over solar panels and the risk of export duties on fine wine.

EU foreign ministers have opened up the possibility of an agreement between Beijing and Brussels at a meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council in Luxembourg. The delegates discussed free trade agreements, as well as the solar panel anti-dumping dispute, which grabbed the headlines after the EU accused the Chinese government of giving their manufacturers unfair subsidies.

However, according to Zhang Haiyan, a Professor of EU-China Investment and Trade at Antwerp Management School in Belgium, there has been newfound eagerness shown on both sides to start investment negotiations which would break down trade barriers and open up a market of some 800 million consumers.

Talking to China Daily, Zhang said Beijing has shown a realistic and flexible attitude over bilateral investment agreement negotiations with both Washington and Brussels. China and the US concluded their ninth round of talks this month although the negotiators have not achieved a basic framework for agreement so far. Similar foundations may soon be laid in Europe, and an agreement may be far easier to cement in the EU compared to its US counterpart,  Zhang believes.

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