context: While Trump threatens to impose 20 percent tariffs on EU automobile exports, the EU is negotiating with China to expedite a bilateral investment agreement and reform WTO rules. The China–EU dialogue aims to boost confidence in the global trade system and fend off a growingly protectionist US.

The seventh China–EU High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue, co-chaired by Liu He 刘鹤 vice premier and European Commission vice president Jyrki Katainen, was held on 25 June 2018 in Beijing.

Liu outlined some goals for both sides

  • exchange lists of proposals regarding a bilateral investment agreement during the 20th China-EU Leaders’ Summit to be held next month in Beijing
  • determine the timeline for the 17th China-EU Geographical Indication Agreement negotiation and announce it during the 20th Leaders’ Summit
  • expedite China’s signing of the Government Procurement Agreement
  • open up market access for agricultural products and set up mutual accreditation process for organic products
  • EU to expedite legislative process and set a clear timeline on authorising Chinese accrediting institutions
  • sign a document related to climate change and a joint investment fund during the 20th Leaders’ Summit
  • promote cooperation under the Belt and Road initiative
  • organise a series of events related to China–Europe Tourism Year

On the issue of market access, Liu appealed to the EU to relax investment restrictions in acknowledgment of China’s efforts to liberalise the market for foreign investment.

In addition, both sides agreed to set up a joint working group to strengthen the multilateral trade system through reforming and adapting World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules to accommodate new global trends, reports 21st Century Business Herald.