Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi told the press on Monday that China and the European Union should consider a multi-billion-dollar free-trade deal, a possibility that seemed unthinkable just a year ago, Reuters reported. The statement followed Yang’s meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton. “There are bright prospects for China-EU business cooperation,” Yang said. Trade between Europe and China has doubled since 2003 to more than US$1.3 billion a day. Last year, Brussels threatened to levy punitive import duties on billions of dollars of Chinese solar panels.