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China, EU Pledge To Protect Free Trade, Reform WTO At Beijing Summit

BEIJING (Alliance News) - The EU on Monday said that it was the joint responsibility of Europe, ...

Alliance News 16 July, 2018 | 7:31AM
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BEIJING (Alliance News) - The EU on Monday said that it was the joint responsibility of Europe, China, the US and Russia to end trade wars and reform the World Trade Organisation as top leaders met in Beijing and Helsinki.

"It is a common duty of Europe and China, America and Russia, not to destroy this [world] order, but to improve it. Not to start trade wars, which turned into hot conflicts so often in our history, but to bravely and responsibly reform the rules-based international order,"  European Council President Donald Tusk said in Beijing on Monday.

"This is why I am calling on our Chinese hosts, but also on presidents Trump and Putin to jointly start this process from a reform of the WTO. There is still time to prevent conflict and chaos," he said.

Tusk was in China on Monday along with Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission, to meet with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang at the 20th EU-China summit.

The meeting comes on the same day as US President Donald Trump was set to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland.

It also comes as the US and China head towards a trade war, as both countries imposing tariffs on USD34 billion worth of goods this month.  

In Beijing on Monday, the EU and China signed their first joint declaration since 2015. Previous differences over the South China Sea prevented one in 2016 and 2017.

They also agreed to expand market access and speed up negotiations for a bilateral investment agreement, now in their fourth year.

However, Li told reporters that negotiations have "entered a new stage" and discussions with the EU on Monday would "give a strong boost to the negotiations."

"China wants to redouble its efforts," Li said, adding that he hoped to conclude the negotiations "at an early date."

Li also said China was committed to reform ing the WTO, saying that, "We agreed to safeguard free trade . the EU and China are two forces of stability."

China has previously accused the US of instigating a trade war and violating the rules of the WTO. 

China is the EU's second largest trading partner. The EU exported EUR198 billion in products to China and imported EUR374 billion worth of goods last year, according to EU statistics.

By Erin Hale, dpa

Copyright dpa

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