With the ever increasing bilateral trade between EU and China and the acknowledgment of the importance of standards, EU-China cooperation in standardization has been developing over the recent years and has become more pragmatic and diverse.
The EU-China Strategic Partnership, which has developed on the basis of the 1985 EU-China trade and cooperation agreement, has grown to include foreign affairs, security matters and international challenges such as climate change and global economy governance.
The EU-China Strategic 2020 Agenda for Cooperation agreed at the EU-China Summit in 2013 is the guiding document of the relationship.
The EU and China are global players. As Strategic Partners, they increasingly cooperate with each other on key international and regional issues. The EU is also China’s biggest trading partner, while China is the second largest two way trading partner for the EU. The trade and investment relationship is an essential source of wealth, jobs, development and innovation for both sides.
Summits and dialogues
The 17th EU-China summit was held on 29th June 2015. These bilateral summits are normally held annually.
Three high-level ‘pillars’ feed into the summit for the leaders to give overall direction:
- High-Level Strategic Dialogue;
- High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue;
- High-Level People-to-People Dialogue.
Over 60 regular high level and senior officials dialogues – on important foreign policy areas as well as technical topics such as industrial policy, education, customs, nuclear energy and consumer protection – underpin those three pillars.
Dialogue with the Administration for Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine of China (AQSIQ)
This dialogue has been running since 2001 and has made continuous progress. Cooperation is very effective in the areas of standards and conformity assessment. In 2012, a web-based tool, the Europe-China Standardization Information Platform (CESIP), was launched to offer businesses information about the standards that are applicable to highly-traded, regulated products. This platform can help small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) in their quest to go international.
In the area of conformity assessment, one priority is to increase exchanges on product risk assessment, risk management and market surveillance to support China’s work on simplifying the China Compulsory Certification (CCC) scheme – a system that requires certain products to meet National Chinese Standards. Other priorities are: fostering international standards, making better use of voluntary international conformity assessment schemes and improving competition in certification services.
The dialogue with AQSIQ is held on a regular basis at working group level. In addition to standardisation and conformity assessment, there are working groups on the following sectors:
- electrical and mechanical products;
- wine and spirits.
A plenary meeting takes place annually to discuss major issues and plan future cooperation.