EU leaders meet XI Jinping for first talks since 2019

A summit between China and the European Union will take place in Beijing on Thursday. Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, the two EU leaders, will meet Xi Jinping in the Chinese capital to discuss the trade imbalance that has grown in recent years, among other issues. It will be the first time since 2019 that the leaders have met.

The growing trade deficit with China is a concern for the EU. Last year, it put 365 billion euros more products on the European market than the EU was able to put on China's. These include green technology products such as solar panels, heat pumps and electric cars.

According to the EU, China is dumping these products on the European market at lower prices because it cannot get rid of them due to the domestic economic slowdown. As a result, European producers are being squeezed out. At the same time, the EU argues that European companies are not getting enough access to the Chinese market.

The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has also highlighted Europe's overdependence on the East. According to EU officials, the Russian incursion has shown that this is dangerous and the EU should therefore avoid the same dependency relationship with China. This mainly concerns trade in chips or rare metals.

Political obstacles

Meanwhile, the EU is urging China to distance itself from Russia and to use its influence to end the war in Gaza. Beijing has good relations with Iran, an ally of Hamas.

Relations between Taiwan and China are also on the agenda, as the EU hopes that the status quo - effectively self-rule for Taiwan - will be maintained for as long as possible and that China will not use force to bring Taiwan to its knees. European leaders are also concerned about the East and South China Seas, where China is increasingly claiming more islands.

Finally, the EU expects China to play a more significant role on climate, particularly to contribute more to the loss and damage fund, which is intended to compensate poorer countries for the damage they suffer due to climate change.



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