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View competition objectively: China tells Merkel and EU
June 14, 2016, 5:16 am

 Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (C) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) in an informal interaction before the fourth round of China-Germany intergovernmental consultation before their meeting at the Summer Palace in Beijing, capital of China, June 12, 2016 [Xinhua]

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (C) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (R) in an informal interaction before the fourth round of China-Germany intergovernmental consultations at the Summer Palace in Beijing, China, June 12, 2016 [Xinhua]

In a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged the EU to “view competition objectively”.

Merkel has already said she favours, in principle, granting China market economy status at the World Trade Organization, and is expected to back Beijing when heads of the European Commission debate the issue in late June or July.

Xi “expressed hope that Germany and the European Union would view competition and cooperation objectively, appropriately address trade disputes with China and honor their obligation stated in Article 15 of the accession protocol signed when China joined the World Trade Organization in 2001, to ensure healthy development of the economic and trade ties between China and the European side” state news agency Xinhua said.

Market-economy status would be a business boost for China. The US has argued against it.

The US-based Economic Policy Institute alleges that unilateral recognition of China as a market economy by the EU would put as many as 3.5 million jobs in Europe at risk.

Under the agreement that led China to join the WTO in 2001, WTO members pledged to scrap in December 2016 a shortcut for applying a non-market economy standard in calculating anti-dumping duties on China.

Meanwhile, China and Germany have inked 96 deals valued at $15 billion during Merkel’s trip, her ninth visit to China.

Earlier on Monday, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Merkel co-chaired the fourth round of intergovernmental consultations.

Airbus Helicopters finalised an agreement to build an assembly line on a Sino-German business park in China and to sell 100 helicopters to a Chinese consortium.

Daimler AG and its Chinese partner, BAIC Motor pledged to jointly invest 4 billion yuan ($608 million) to expand engine production.

Li met with Merkel at the Summer Palace in the suburb of Beijing.

The two sides discussed integrating China’s “Made In China 2025” blueprint and Germany’s “Industrial 4.0” strategy, among other issues, Li said.

The EU accuses China of dumping cheap steel exports after a slowdown in demand at home. EU lawmakers say China’s cheap exports and excess production capacity are hurting EU jobs.

As Beijing’s free-market credentials face scrutiny, Chinese Premier Li told Merkel his government will work on greater transparency.

“The facts prove that China’s market is open. We will be even more open,” Li said. “We will take even more steps based on the principles of treating everyone equally, fairness and transparency.”

Earlier in the day, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi held a meeting with his German counterpart Frank-Walter Steinmeier on issues of shared interest.

Wang had last month slammed a recent European Parliament resolution refusing to grant China market economy status, saying the move was not constructive.

“As the world’s second largest economy and biggest trade partner for more than 130 countries, China has become a bedrock for protecting global free trade. These facts which are seen by all, we don’t want some to still look at China with prejudices, or people who want to reverse the historical trend,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in Beijing.

“China has only one clear and reasonable request to the EU: Please keep your promise,” the Chinese Foreign Minister said at the press conference in Beijing.

“Whether the EU grants market economy status to China or not, it needs to deliver on its WTO obligations rather than dodge them,” Wang said.

In 2015, Chinese businesses invested $23 billion in the European continent according to a joint report by Baker & McKenzie and Rhodium Group.


TBP and Agencies

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