BEIJING, Sept. 9 (UPI) -- China pressed for early recognition of its market economy status from the European Union, saying it will help bilateral relations and free trade.
Speaking to visiting British Business Secretary Peter Mandelson, who is leading a trade delegation, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said since New Zealand's recognition in 2004, more than 70 other countries have accorded MES to China.
"The EU should recognize China's market economy status as early as possible," Wen said, China's state-run Xinhua news agency reported. "This will be conducive to China-EU relations, to free trade and to the recovery and growth of the world economy."
Mandelson, a former EU Trade Commissioner, was quoted as saying the EU has an important role to play to make its ties with China a success.
"We need to develop a clearer and consistent channel for communicating with China, especially on trade and climate change issues," Mandelson said.
Mandelson told the Communist Party Central Committee party school Britain and the EU will continue to argue for wider access to China's markets and for direct investment in the country, the report said.
Since its admission to the World Trade Organization in 2001, which came after years of effort, China has been seeking MES recognition on grounds its market-based reforms have been in place for decades. Chinese officials say the nation's treatment as a non-market economy by some countries and groups is unfair as it encourages anti-dumping cases against it.