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2007-10-19 | All chapters

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson Calls for Fairer EU-China Trade


Last month, a delegation of the European Chamber, led by the President Joerg Wuttke, exchanged views about the investment environment for European companies in China with the EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson in Brussels. The European Chamber presented the Position Paper to Peter Mandelson and briefed him on its contents.


Acknowledging that dialogue and cooperation with China have failed to secure concessions for Europe and that problems such as market access highlighted in the Position Paper have yet to be addressed by Beijing, Peter Mandelson argued in a letter to the European Commission president that more aggressive action is needed.


In the internal letter, Peter Mandelson states that the EU should align policies more closely with the United States and be more prepared to "use WTO dispute settlement to enforce the rules". This letter comes at a time when the European Commission is reaching decisions on a series of trade disputes over items like steel and light bulbs.


The EU trade deficit with China rose by one-fifth last year and according to statistics from the European Commission, is currently rising at EUR 15 million per hour, a higher rate than that of the United States. The non-tarriff barriers and regulatory discrimination is also estimated to cost European companies EUR 20 billion per year.


"If China does not pull its weight then inevitably we will be faced with calls for a different approach," said Peter Power, a spokesman for Peter Mandelson.


"Maintaining open trade in both directions is the best solution for both sides. This remains our objective and we can only achieve it if China is committed to practical measures."


For more information on the comments from EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson, please click  here.


Showing the support of the European Chamber for EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson's call for more aggressive action, the President of the European Chamber wrote to a leading financial newspaper to highlight the problems faced by the European business community in China.


To read the published letter in full, please click here.