EU-China agree on a joint statement
Last week, President of the European Council Donald Tusk urged EU leaders not to support a joint statement with China, saying there has not been sufficient cooperation from the Chinese side to address European concerns on a range of issues. But an intense 72 hours of negotiations eventually led to agreement on a groundbreaking joint statement.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said: “We are making good on our joint commitment to uphold and to update the rules-based global order that has served us so well.” Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, declared the agreements reached at the summit “something good for China’s reform and opening-up endeavors, and good for European unity and prosperity.”
China is currently in negotiations with the US over a trade deal which US President Donald Trump has claimed would be reached in less than one month from now. However, Chinese media outlets are warning that any effort to force through a deal could have serious negative consequences.
The US Ambassador to the EU met with officials from the European Parliament and once again slammed the EU over its trade dispute with Washington. The tone was remarkably different at the news conference in the European Council, where Chinese Premier Li Keqiang seemed to make repeated references to the ongoing tensions with the United States.
This Joint Statement may be a sign of things to come in terms of future priorities of the European Union. But for the Americans, it was also a stark illustration of the opportunity which Donald Trump and his administration have missed to partner with the EU in pressing China for a swifter opening of its markets to the West, and quicker reforms to its legal and regulatory systems. Trump, by virtue of his threats of heavy tariffs, has forced the EU and China to cooperate for their own economic certainty.