China shops for Euro business

11 May 2009

BEIJING: Chinese vice-premier Wang Quishan says China plans to repeat its February shopping trip to Europe, when its business delegation signed deals worth €18.2bn ($13.6bn, £20.4bn) with companies in Germany, Spain, Switzerland and the UK, several times this year.

Europe is China's biggest trading partner and even in cash-strapped 2008 trade between the two amounted to $425bn, an increase of 19.5% over the previous year.

However, there are still disagreements between the two giant economies. The EU is the main technology supplier to China but some restrictions on what can be exported remain and China wants these rules relaxed.

For its part, the EU would like China to allow its companies free access to its vast domestic market and also to take action against counterfeiters who some European companies blame for taking away a fifth of their trade.

At the talks in Brussels, the EU's trade commissioner Catherine Ashton said she hoped that China would join the EU in pushing for a new world trade deal this autumn that could help lift their economies.

But with the Chinese economy recovering much more rapidly than either Europe or North America from the credit crunch and related financial crisis, and back on track to achieve 7% growth this year, the EU's need for a new world trade deal looks rather greater.

Data sourced from China Daily: additional content by WARC staff