China is stepping up its efforts to reach an investment agreement with the European Union, with the vice-premier in charge of trade talks calling his counterparts in Brussels on Friday, reported the South China Morning Post.
Liu He’s conversation with the European Commission’s executive vice-president Valdis Dombrovskis came as officials described the talks, which the two sides hope to conclude this year, as making slow progress. Liu’s call, his first in a year, also coincides with a hardening of attitudes towards China in some parts of Europe as a result of its handling of the Covid-19 outbreak.
His latest engagement with the EU is a sign that Beijing is refocusing attention on Brussels after reaching a phase one deal with the US, according to one EU diplomat who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Describing the call as “useful”, Dombrovskis said in a tweet: “We remain committed to finalising negotiations on an ambitious EU-China investment agreement this year. We will continue to work together to make this agreement a reality.