EU, China claim leadership on drive for low-carbon economy

Joint leadership between the two economies adds certainty on the global stage, the head of the European Union said.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  June 2, 2017 at 9:13 AM
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June 2 (UPI) -- The European Union and China are assuming joint leadership in the effort to build a low-carbon economy, the EU president said Friday during a trade summit.

Representatives from the European Union and China met Friday in Brussels to sign off on a work plan that lays out a roadmap for cooperation on energy and climate change. Speaking before the delegates, European President Jean-Claude Juncker said the relationship between Europe and China was an outward looking one geared toward global stability.

"Whether it be fighting climate change, more important today than yesterday, cyber-attacks and international terrorism, or whether it be promoting sustainable development, trade and global economic growth, China and the European Union are aligned on the need for international solutions," he said in his prepared remarks.

The roadmap outlined in Brussels calls for better trade relations where foreign firms are treated equally in their respective markets. Trade so far is lopsided, with Chinese investors spending five times as much on acquisitions in the European market than European companies did in China.

By comparison, European investments in China were about 3 percent of total EU investments in the U.S. market last year.

Juncker said that reflects the difficulty of doing business in China, adding about half of the companies in the EU have expressed frustration with tapping into the Chinese market.

The EU in 2013 imposed a duty of 67.9 percent to Chinese solar panel exporters who didn't cooperate with an investigation into allegations the panels were sold to European countries at below market cost.

Chinese-manufactured solar products at the time accounted for more than half of the global market and were the main source of European imports of renewable energy goods.

The official Xinhua News Agency reported that Chinese Premier Li Keqiang was working in Brussels to allay concerns from European leaders. Both sides are looking for common ground and searching to "go with the tide of globalization and push forward globalization to make it fairer and more inclusive."

With the United States charting its exit from the international Paris climate accord, the EU president said the onus was now on Europe and China to take the lead.

"Our joint leadership provides businesses, investors and researchers -- in Europe, China and around the world -- with the certainty they need to build a global low-carbon economy," he said.

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