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Prospects and Challenges for EU-China Relations in the 21st Century

The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement


Edited By Jing Men and Giuseppe Balducci

In 25 years, EU-China relations have come far, further than many could have imagined – but how much further can these relations be taken? Today, their bilateral relations are at a crossroads. In effect, it has been 25 years since the EU and China agreed upon the legally binding Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement, which sets the basis for their diplomatic relations. In an ever increasingly complex and globalised international environment, these actors have become mutually interdependent on a variety of levels. In 2007, they agreed to revise and update the 1985 accord and replace it with an all-encompassing Partnership and Cooperation Agreement. However, more than three years passed, and there are many points of contention which need to be negotiated. What obstacles are blocking this agreement? How can these obstacles be overcome? What concessions should be made and where?
This book will provide an up-to-date analysis of the problematic concerns, and the means to resolve these issues, that range from human rights, to international trade conflicts and climate change.


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INTRODUCTION EU-China Relations in the 21st Century (Jing Men & Giuseppe Balducci) 21


21 INTRODUCTION EU-China Relations in the 21st Century Jing MEN & Giuseppe BALDUCCI Over the last thirty years, EU-China relations have deepened and expanded significantly. This is indicated by the stunning growth of their economic interactions, which have made China into the EU’s second most important commercial partner and the latter China’s first trading partner as well as its largest source of advanced technology. Paralleling these economic changes, the EU and China have also developed their political relations through annual summits, Troika meetings and sectoral dialogues, which aim at addressing global issues as well as topics relevant to bilateral relations. In recent years, both the EU and China were interested in upgrading their relations from a Comprehensive to a Strategic Partnership. Against this background, the EU and China have at the beginning of 2007 launched negotiations on a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA), which will replace the Agreement on Trade and Economic Cooperation that dates back to 1985. The PCA is to provide a legal framework in which the two sides could further develop their cooperation. Notwithstanding these remarkable achievements, the further deve- lopment of EU-China relations is hampered by some problems. Particularly after 2005, the doubts about the strategic partnership between the two sides, the EU’s rising trade deficit with China, and the suspension of the EU-China summit meeting at the end of 2008, reminded both the Europeans and the Chinese of the wisdom and efforts needed from both sides to further promote bilateral cooperation. The negotiations of the PCA...

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