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EU trade rep suggests arms sales to China

Sept. 30, 2009 at 3:49 PM

BRUSSELS, Sept. 30 (UPI) -- The European Union's new leader in EU-Chinese relations says he favors ending a 20-year arms embargo with China.

"I think we should remember that things have changed somewhat in the last few years. The climate in the relations between China and the rest of the world has changed," said Crescenzio Rivellini, the newly elected chairman of the EU delegation to China.

Arm sales from EU member states to China have been banned since the 1989 incident in Tiananmen Square during which the Chinese army fired on civilian protesters, the EUobserver reported Wednesday.

"We will try to use the Partnership and Co-operation Agreement to improve investment access in China for EU companies," Rivellini said.

European countries have complained that gaining access to Chinese markets often comes with a requirement of creating a partnership with a Chinese company. Other areas of Chinese commerce are restricted by the government for security reasons.

Rivellini said duties on textiles and shoes might be employed to lower the level of Chinese imports.

"In the profound crisis that we are going through right now, we should be able to introduce policies that protect European industries," Rivellini said.

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