China's Li says EU and China must promote free and fair trade

Wed Apr 19, 2017 10:16am EDT
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China and the European Union should promote a "positive signal" of economic globalization and free and fair trade, Premier Li Keqiang told the EU's top diplomat Federica Mogherini.

Some European officials say that China has launched a charm offensive with the EU since U.S. President Donald Trump took office, in an effort to find allies amid fears Trump could undermine it with his protectionist "America First" policies.

"China and the EU, as two great forces in the world, should...respond to global challenges, reform and improve the international governance system, [and] promote a positive signal of economic globalization and free and fair trade," Li told Mogherini on Tuesday, according to a statement on China's Foreign Ministry website on Wednesday.

The two sides should "respond to changes and uncertainty in the international situation with the cooperation and stability of China-EU relations," he said to Mogherini, who is visiting China for a China-EU strategic dialogue.

Speaking to reporters later on Wednesday, Mogherini said both would support the World Trade Organization.

"We both recognize the need of support for WTO and to avoid any protectionist policy or attitude," she said.

Standing next to Mogherini, China's top diplomat State Councillor Yang Jiechi said China values its relations with the EU.

"No matter how the situation in Europe will change, China will always firmly support the path of integration that the EU has chosen," Yang said.

The Chinese statement on the earlier meeting with Li cited Mogherini as saying that China and the EU shoulder the duty to safeguard international order, respond to terrorism and climate change and other global challenges.   Continued...

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang speaks with the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini during their meeting at the Zhongnanhai leadership compound in Beijing, China, April 18, 2017. REUTERS/Kenzaburo Fukuhara/Pool