EU delegation in China for summit

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk arrived in Beijing on Tuesday for a two-day EU-China summit expected to focus on the economy.

China's possible upgrade to market economy status was also thought to be on the agenda. The EU is considering the shift in designation, which would ease some restrictions on China's exports to the bloc.

China aimed to achieve market economy status this year under the terms of its accession to the World Trade Organization in 2001.

The status would make it easier for it to demonstrate that it is not subsidising its exports to undercut global competition.

The EU Parliament in May voted against the upgrade. The EU says that other mechanisms must first be developed to protect the bloc's trade against cheap Chinese imports.

Brussels accuses Beijing of flooding the market with cheap steel, and endangering European exports and jobs.

European industry representatives said Tuesday that the alleged dumping was spreading to other sectors.

"Chinese dumping is about much more than steel," the European industrial trade association said. "Any company, especially the small ones that manufacture products in Europe will be affected."

In the ceramic sector, for example, 100,000 jobs are threatened by possible dumping, and a further 80,000 are threatened in the aluminium industry, it said.

"The EU must maintain a robust and effective trade defence system and not accept China's demand for lax anti-dumping measures."

The EU is China's largest trade partner, and China is the bloc's second-largest after the United States.

EU companies operating in China have also been complaining for years about obstacles to market access, uneven competition conditions, poor transparency and uncertain rule of law in the country.

Juncker and Tusk were also set to discuss the consequences of Britain's exit from the EU with Chinese leaders. Experts say the move could dampen the enthusiasm of Chinese investment in the EU, which has been focussed on Britain.

British representatives in Brussels have been lobbying for a pro-China approach to trade policy.

Last update: Tue, 12/07/2016 - 11:17
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