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

The Partnership and Cooperation Agreement

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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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CHAPTER 9 The Significance of the PCA in Sino-European Relations. A Step Forward or a Stumbling Block? (Carmen Amado Mendes) 217

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217 CHAPTER 9 The Significance of the PCA in Sino-European Relations A Step Forward or a Stumbling Block? Carmen AMADO MENDES Sino-European relations, shaken by the events of Tiananmen Square (1989) and the subsequent European imposition of economic sanctions and the arms embargo, have evolved since the mid-1990s in a very constructive way. Since 1998, EU-China annual summits assemble European heads of government and Chinese leaders to discuss bilateral and global issues. Sino-European relations also gained a new meaning in 2003, with the adoption by the European Commission of a policy paper towards China and the subsequent signature of a Strategic Partnership with that country. Since then, the idea of negotiating a new compre- hensive framework agreement evolved with the need of finding joint responses to global challenges. During the 9th EU-China Summit in Helsinki, the two sides agreed to open negotiations for a PCA. This agreement is expected to go beyond the commercial area, framed by the 1985 TECA, and cover both political and economic relations. The final joint statement of the 10th EU-China Summit, held in Beijing under the auspices of the Portuguese Presidency in November 2007, announced the formal opening of PCA negotiations.1 This chapter aims to contribute to the debate as to whether this agreement will merely constitute an institutional framework for the actual state of Sino-European relations or if it will be a step forward, opening doors to solve the main points of contention between both sides. After reviewing the evolution of Sino-European relations, this...

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