March 22, 2019 / 3:12 PM / 3 months ago

EU wants better, reciprocal access to Chinese market

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union, China’s biggest trading partner, wants better access to Chinese markets and for European companies there to be treated in the same way as Chinese firms in Europe, EU leaders said on Friday.

“Our aim is to focus on achieving a balanced relationship, which ensures fair competition and equal market access,” the chairman of EU leaders Donald Tusk told a news conference. “We hope to persuade China to include industrial subsidies as a crucial element of WTO reform,” he said.

EU leaders will hold a summit with China on April 9 and the talks on Friday were meant to coordinate the positions of the 28 members of the bloc.

Noting that China was a competitor and a partner at the same time, the leaders agreed the relationship was skewed in China’s favour.

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker told the news conference that relations with China were good, but not excellent and that competition was not fair as Chinese markets were not sufficiently open to European products.

The EU would also like its companies to have the same access to Chinese public tenders as Chinese companies have for public procurement in Europe, Juncker said.

Reporting By Jan Strupczewski; editing by Philip Blenkinsop

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