'Untapped potential' consentient to China-EU economic ties
Zhou Jiaxin

The fight against protectionism is gaining major momentum at the annual China-EU dialogue, as participants from both sides agree it will take strong leadership from their countries.

The joint statement from the dialogue for CEO and former senior officials says China and Europe should take leading roles in resisting protectionism by demonstrating reciprocal benefits through economic openness.

"This is true in economy with protectionism coming back in trade and investment since 2017 the U.S. decision to increase tariffs on Europe and China," said Dominique de Villepin, former prime minister of France.

The French politician addressed that the unilateralism had seriously impacted global growth with a loss up to 700 billion U.S. dollars by 2020, adding the way-out is to pursue the model of "trust, openness and mutual profits."

The EU is China's largest trading partner, while China is the EU's second largest. And the bilateral investment treaty between the two economies is expected next year, according to Zhang Xiaoqiang, executive vice-chairman of China China Center for International Economic Exchanges

VCG Photo

VCG Photo

Zhang cited the digital economy and projects through the Belt and Road Initiative as the new front for the bilateral trading partnership, noting the two sides are unlocking "great potential" in trade and investment.

That echoes China's fresh regulations in October, a move to improve its business environment for more foreign trade and investment.

Fabian Zuleeg, chief executive of European Policy Centre, said China's showcasing seriousness about advancing business conditions for foreign firms is significant, as well as the China-EU dialogue.

"I think there are areas of concern on the European side, but the best way of addressing these issues is through dialogue such as this one,"  Zuleeg told CGTN.

WTO reforms are also high on the China-EU agenda.

2020 is crucial to resolving the crisis of the organization's Appellate Body, Zhang said, and the two sides need to work together to promote the reforms, including not only the trade but the emerging industry such as e-commerce, digital economy and the rule for cross-border data.

The third edition of this dialogue comes amid the fourth industrial revolution, advocating that both sides should oppose digital protectionism and cooperate intensively on cybersecurity issues.