Commentary: China, EU ready for new chapter in cooperation
                 English.news.cn | 2014-03-31 11:48:26 | Editor: Zhu Ningzhu

by Shi Xiaomeng

BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping is to visit the headquarters of the European Union (EU) and hold talks with EU leaders on Monday.

The visit, the first by a Chinese head of state to the EU headquarters, presents a great opportunity to further invigorate China-EU cooperation and open up a new, more prosperous chapter for bilateral relations.

The stroke of diplomacy is particularly promising as the Asian giant and the European bloc are consolidating and enriching their interaction in line with the China-EU 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation.

The EU is China's largest trade partner while China is the EU's second largest. In 2013, bilateral trade reached 559 billion U.S. dollars.

The two sides are also moving closer to a long-awaited investment agreement that will help facilitate and spur business activities between the two sides and strengthen the China-EU trade links comprehensively.

Despite the progress they have made in bilateral relations, there remain several unsolved matters between the two sides.

For years, the EU has refused to recognize China's full market economy status. It also keeps an arms embargo against Beijing.

In order to lay a more solid foundation for economic cooperation, removing trade barriers and curbing the re-emergence of trade protectionism remain imperative for China and the EU.

Just a few days before Xi's Europe trip, the two sides reached a deal to end a dispute over European wine exports to China. They also resolved a row over polysilicon, which is used in making solar panels.

China and the EU, two heavyweights in the international community, have the capability to settle other pending disputes as long as they deepen mutual trust and mutual understanding.

Beijing is now deepening reforms and striving to build a moderately prosperous society, while the EU is shaking off the shadow of the sovereign debt crisis and making strides on the way of integration. Cooperation is an effective way for both sides to reach their goals.

Once those impediments are cleared, the two sides will have much more to offer each other and the world. Otherwise, the two sides will lose historic opportunities for building even stronger ties of complementarity.

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