Chinese vice premier urges EU to deliver on its WTO obligations

Chinese Vice Premier Ma Kai met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Tuesday, urging the European Union (EU) to obey the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and stop its unfair treatment of China.

“The EU should respect WTO rules and fully deliver on its obligations as scheduled,” Ma stressed in the meeting.

WTO obligations require the EU to end the practice of “surrogate country system” by Dec. 11, 2016, under which costs of production in a third country are used to calculate the value of products from non-market economies.

However, the EU’s formal decision on this has not yet been unveiled.

Regarding the steel industry’s overcapacity, Ma pointed out that it is a global problem rooted in weak demand caused by the financial crisis and long-term global economic depression.

“Protectionism is not a solution to the issue,” Ma said. “The fundamental settlement is to push for a strong, balanced, sustainable and inclusive growth of the world economy, which requires joint efforts from all countries.”

The Chinese official is in Brussels to co-chair the sixth China-EU High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue with European Commission Vice President Jyrki Katainen.

“In the next stage, China and the EU should further advance the negotiations on a bilateral investment agreement, strengthen communication and coordination under the G20 framework, and promote synergy in their development strategies, such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Investment Plan for Europe,” the Chinese vice premier said.

Juncker for his part expressed the EU’s willingness to fulfill its WTO obligations.

He also said the EU highly values its relations with China and hopes to continue to closely work with China on a number of issues.

Currently, the EU is China’s biggest trading partner, while China is the EU’s second largest trading partner after the United States.

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