Category Archives: External Relations

Relations with third countries
Eastern and Central Europe, Mediterranean partner countries, Middle East, Asia, Latin America, Industrialised countries.
See also
Humanitarian aid
Development
External trade
Human rights in non-EU countries
Foreign and security policy
European External Action Service
International agreements

Strategy for cooperation with Bangladesh

Strategy for cooperation with Bangladesh

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with Bangladesh

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with Bangladesh (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Bangladesh Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

Following the adoption of a new partnership agreement in 2001, the European Union (EU) and Bangladesh are cooperating in many areas. Primarily, EU intervention should support the country in reducing poverty and meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

All cooperation projects must incorporate the objectives of protecting gender equality, rural development, food safety, environmental protection and good public governance.

Short-term priorities

This strategy aims at establishing a balance between social development and economic development. The partners therefore identify priority areas for action:

  • human and social development, through programmes to promote health, nutrition, access to education, decent work and the fight against poverty;
  • good governance, particularly as regards the management of public finances, the judicial system and the effectiveness of the State;
  • the protection of human rights, mainly to improve respect for the rights of women and children, but also of minority groups such as refugees and the disabled;
  • economic and trade development, to enable the country to be integrated into the global trade system, to increase the competitiveness of enterprises and the diversification of economic production.

Long-term priorities

During the second phase of implementation of the strategy, a series of actions are to be carried out in the areas of:

  • the environment and disaster management, the consequences of which mainly affect the poorest people;
  • food security and nutrition, so as to permanently reduce malnutrition rates, particularly in rural areas.

Agreement with Bangladesh on partnership and development

Agreement with Bangladesh on partnership and development

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Agreement with Bangladesh on partnership and development

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Agreement with Bangladesh on partnership and development

Document or Iniciative

Council Decision 2001/332/EC of 26 February 2001 concerning the conclusion of the Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on partnership and development.

Cooperation Agreement between the European Community and the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on partnership and development.

Summary

The cooperation put in place between the European Union (EU) and Bangladesh should contribute to the sustainable development of the country and the fight against poverty. Bangladesh is one of the Least Developed Countries (LDCs).

Areas of cooperation

Special attention is paid by the partners to the fight against drugs and against HIV/AIDS. Their actions comprise:

  • prevention measures, monitoring and fighting AIDS;
  • information provision and educational activities;
  • improving access to health services and treatment for the sick;
  • the rehabilitation of drug addicts.

Trade cooperation aims at the expansion of trade and the opening up of markets. It takes place in compliance with World Trade Organization (WTO) agreements. The partners therefore need to make progress towards removing trade barriers and resolving transit or re-export issues. They must improve customs cooperation and information sharing.

Moreover, the country must make progress in its undertakings as regards the protection of intellectual, industrial and commercial property rights.

Economic cooperation aims particularly at:

  • facilitating contacts between economic operators, business communities, enterprises and investors;
  • improving the business environment and conditions for investment, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises;
  • promoting technology transfer.

The agreement enshrines the principle of reciprocal access by the partners to their respective public works contracts. They apply the principle of free access to international maritime transport contracts.

In the area of the environment, cooperation must make it possible in particular to:

  • reduce the risks of natural disasters, and combat soil degradation in particular;
  • develop environmental policy and workers’ training;
  • promote sustainable and non-polluting energies.

The partners share knowledge in the field of science and technology. They cooperate in combating the production of drugs and money laundering.

A key point of the partnership is the development of workers’ rights and skills. International Labour Organization (ILO) instruments are to be implemented (in the areas of child labour, forced labour, freedom of association, trade union rights, etc.). Furthermore, measures are to be taken to foster education and vocational qualifications, particularly for the poorest population sectors.

Regional cooperation

Cooperation actions may be undertaken with other countries in the region, as a priority in the fields of:

  • technical assistance and workers’ training;
  • the promotion of intra-regional trade;
  • support for regional cooperation organisations (such as the South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC));
  • examining questions with a regional dimension, particularly in the sectors of transport, communications, the environment and health.

Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Free trade agreement with the Republic of Korea

Document or Iniciative

Free trade agreement between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the Republic of Korea, of the other part.

Summary

Under this free trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Korea, the partners will progressively eliminate duties and import quotas applying to imports and exports of industrial and agricultural products. They will also introduce progressive liberalisation of services and investment.

The main objectives of this Agreement are:

  • to eliminate duties for European exporters of industrial and agricultural products;
  • to improve market access for EU service providers;
  • to abolish non-tariff restrictions in the electronics, pharmaceuticals and medical devices sectors;
  • to improve market access for EU car manufacturers;
  • to improve access to government procurement markets;
  • to protect intellectual property rights;
  • to strengthen competition law;
  • to improve transparency;
  • to promote sustainable development;
  • to establish a rapid and effective dispute settlement system.

Elimination of tariff and non-tariff measures

The EU and Korea will progressively abolish customs duties applying to their trade in goods. This liberalisation applies to a list of goods (Annex 2-A).

In addition, the partners may not adopt any other types of import or export restrictions. However, they may provide for sanitary and phytosanitary measures in order to protect human, animal or plant life or health. In accordance with the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the partners shall minimise the effects of these measures on the development of trade.

Trade in services and right of establishment

The partners undertake to liberalise part of their offer of services in accordance with the WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). They have therefore drawn up a list of commitments and limitations (Annex 7-A) concerning the liberalised service sectors.

Similarly, the Agreement defines the rules on the right of establishment for access to the market in services, and on the right of residence for professionals.

Lastly, the liberalisation of financial services may be restricted in order to protect the partners’ financial systems or to protect investors and individuals receiving these services.

Government procurement

The EU and Korea shall grant each other access to their markets in products and services, in compliance with the rules on openness, transparency and non-discrimination in the WTO’s Agreement on Government Procurement.

The rules applying to public works contracts are laid down in Annex 9 to this Agreement.

Dispute settlement

In the event of non-compliance with the provisions of the Agreement, the parties shall have recourse to extrajudicial dispute settlement mechanisms, particularly rapid arbitration and mediation procedures.

Sustainable development

The Agreement includes provisions establishing joint commitments and a framework for cooperation on trade and sustainable development and provides for dialogue and continuous commitment between the EU and South Korea in the areas of environment and employment.

Context

This free trade agreement is the most complete and the most ambitious agreement concluded by the EU with a third country. The strategy for a Global Europe: Competing in the world (BG) (CS) (ET) (GA) (LV) (LT) (HU) (MT) (PL) (RO) (SK) (SL) envisages the development of this type of agreement in order to provide the EU with preferential access to external markets.

According to a recent study , this Agreement should make it possible to double bilateral trade over the next twenty years compared to a situation without an agreement in place.

Strategy for cooperation with Thailand

Strategy for cooperation with Thailand

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with Thailand

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with Thailand (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Thailand Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

The partnership put in place between the European Union (EU) and Thailand is intended to facilitate policy and trade dialogue and knowledge sharing. The cooperation priorities presented by the Commission therefore take into account improvements in the socio-economic development of the country.

Strategic cooperation areas

Economic cooperation activities are at the heart of the partnership. The EU therefore supports public reforms in economic areas, improvements to the legal environment for enterprise and investment, and the increase in commercial competitiveness of the country at regional and global levels.

Similarly, planned measures aim at facilitating customs cooperation and adapting rules and technical standards applicable to goods that are to be imported into the EU.

The partners also intend to strengthen their relations in the area of science and technology, higher education and research. Their activities should facilitate the sharing of information, know-how and good practices, as well as strengthening capacities and resources in the sector of research.

Lastly, cooperation should foster dialogue and the sharing of knowledge in the areas of social policy, protection of the environment, good governance, human rights and mine action.

Policy dialogue

A series of themes are to be covered as part of the policy dialogue:

  • the promotion of democracy and human rights;
  • social and human development, particularly as regards health, culture, education and training;
  • immigration and asylum policy, the fight against human trafficking and the protection of displaced persons;
  • the environment and the sustainable management of natural resources;
  • the development of civil society.

Cross-cutting issues

Cooperation actions undertaken must take into account:

  • gender equality and the position of women in the economy;
  • the impact of global trade at social level and the promotion of decent work;
  • management of natural resources, including energy;
  • good governance in public affairs and the promotion of human rights.

Context

The partners’ relations should be intensified through the conclusion of a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (PCA). The negotiations, initiated in 2007, deal particularly with the priorities defined in this Strategy Paper.

Strategy for cooperation with Vietnam

Strategy for cooperation with Vietnam

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Strategy for cooperation with Vietnam

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Strategy for cooperation with Vietnam (2007-2013)

Document or Iniciative

The European Commission – Vietnam Strategy Paper 2007-2013 .

Summary

Cooperation between the European Union (EU) and Vietnam aims primarily to reduce the level of poverty in the country. This aim is pursued in line with Vietnam’s socio-economic development plan and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Cooperation priorities

This strategy identifies a limited number of areas for cooperation, in order to enhance the effectiveness of development aid. Cooperation actions are mainly financed through the instrument for development cooperation (DCI). They are aimed at supporting:

  • socio-economic development, particularly the reform of public policies and the increase of financial resources, including by mobilising international donors;
  • the health sector, especially to improve access to care, the development of infrastructure and to extend the coverage of social protection to the whole population.

Furthermore, the EU supports the development of trade with Vietnam, to help the country to maximise its international trade development and exploit its membership of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Cooperation should contribute to the development of trade policies, and the legal framework applicable to workers, enterprises, investment and exports.

The increase in trade should have a positive impact on reducing poverty and the sustainable development of the country.

Policy dialogue

The partners are undertaking a strategic dialogue, in particular with a view to strengthening public institutions, public administration, good governance and human rights.

In addition, a set of thematic objectives supplements these priorities. They can be implemented through the European Instrument for Stability. The objectives are as follows:

  • democracy and human rights;
  • the development of civil society;
  • migration and asylum policy;
  • human and social development;
  • environmental protection and sustainable resource management;
  • higher education.

Cross-cutting issues

Cooperation actions should have a positive impact on gender equality, the fight against HIV/AIDS, environmental protection, democracy, good governance and human rights.

Context

In 2007, Vietnam and the EU launched negotiations with a view to intensifying their relations by adopting a Partnership and Cooperation Agreement.

Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Partnerships with countries in the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

Document or Iniciative

Council Decisions 94/578/EC, 95/129/EC, 96/354/EC, 2001/332/EC and 2004/870/EC concerning the conclusion of the cooperation agreements between the European Community, of the one part, and of the other part, the Republic of India, the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, the Kingdom of Nepal, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, respectively.

Summary

Between 1994 and 2004, the European Union (EU) concluded five similar cooperation agreements with five countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC): Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

These agreements aim to develop the cooperation ties between the partners, while ensuring a respect for human rights and promoting democratic principles.

The main cooperation objectives concern:

  • trade, with the aim of increasing, diversifying and liberalising trade. Therefore, the parties must improve the opening up of their respective markets, and enhance their cooperation in customs matters in accordance with the principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO);
  • economy, in order to improve the business environment, dialogue between economic operators, information exchange, and entrepreneur training;
  • sustainable development, specifically for social progress and combating poverty. The EU must support the progress of partners in the fields of health, education, improving the standard of living, and promoting the role of women in society;
  • the development of human resources, vocational qualifications and the promotion of international standards on decent work;
  • rural development, increasing trade in agricultural, fisheries and farmed products, including the improvement of sanitary and phytosanitary measures.

The Agreements also provide specific objectives depending on the different needs of the country for:

  • scientific and technological cooperation, which should lead to improvements in the technical assistance with Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Bangladesh’s quality and control standards, and the launching of joint research projects, the mobility of researchers, and exchanges of scientific information (particularly in the fields of bio-technology, new materials and geosciences) with India;
  • environmental protection, particularly to support Pakistan and Nepal in natural resource management, erosion and deforestation; Bangladesh for reducing the risks of natural disasters; Sri Lanka for preventing industrial pollution, and India for drafting and implementing environmental legislation, research and training;
  • improving the environment for private investment with India, Nepal and Sri Lanka;
  • developing industry and services with India and Pakistan;
  • protecting intellectual property rights with India and Sri Lanka;
  • cooperation in the fields of information, culture and communications with Pakistan and Bangladesh;
  • promoting the energy sector with India, Pakistan and Nepal, recognising the importance of the energy sector for their economic and social development;
  • combating drug trafficking and money laundering, particularly with Pakistan and Bangladesh using special measures against the production and trafficking of drugs, and also the prevention of drug abuse;
  • tourism with India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, particularly through studies and information exchange.

Context

SAARC is a regional cooperation organisation, established in 1985 in order to accelerate the economic and social development of its Member States. These Member States are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The EU has observer member status in the organisation, as does Burma/Myanmar, China, South Korea, the United States, Iran, Japan and Mauritius.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Decision 94/578/EC Republic of India

1.8.1994

OJ L 223 of 27.8.1994

Decision 95/129/EC the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka

1.4.1995

OJ L 85 of 19.4.1995

Decision 2004/870/EC, Islamic Republic of Pakistan

1.9.2004

OJ L 378 of 23.12.2004

Decision 2001/332/EC People’s Republic of Bangladesh

1.3.2001

OJ L 118 of 27.4.2001

Decision 96/354/EC Kingdom of Nepal

1.6.1996

OJ L 137 of 8.6.1996

Related Acts

Communication concerning the entry into force, in trade between the European Community and the countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), of the provisions laid down in Commission Regulation (EEC) No 2454/93, as amended by Regulation (EC) No 1602/2000, concerning the definition of the concept of ‘originating products’ for the purpose of applying tariff preferences granted by the Community to certain products from developing countries (regional cumulation of origin)) [OJ C 265 of 15.9.2000].

Enhancing the Asia strategy

Enhancing the Asia strategy

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about Enhancing the Asia strategy

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

Enhancing the Asia strategy

Document or Iniciative

Communication from the Commission to the Council of 4 September 2001. Europe and Asia: A Strategic Framework for Enhanced Partnerships [COM(2001)469 – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

Taking account of the developments that have taken place since its 1994 Communication entitled ‘Towards a New Asia Strategy’, the Commission updates the mechanism established by the 1994 strategy. It sets outs a comprehensive strategic framework for relations between Asia, its regions and the European Union (EU) in the coming decade, while recognising the diversity of Asia through different forms of partnership. The Commission aims to strengthen the EU’s political and economic presence in Asia, raising it to a level commensurate with the growing global weight of the enlarged Union.

The new strategy therefore focuses on six key points:

  • strengthening the EU’s engagement with Asia in the political and security fields;
  • further strengthening mutual trade and investment flows with the region;
  • demonstrating the EU’s effectiveness as a partner in reducing poverty in Asia;
  • promoting respect for human rights, democracy, good governance and the rule of law;
  • building global alliances with key Asian partners (to address global challenges and within international organisations);
  • strengthening mutual awareness between the EU and Asia.

The Communication identifies concrete proposals aimed at strengthening EU-Asia relations in these key areas and launching actions on a broader regional scale.

As regards peace and security, the EU must play an active role in regional fora, promote conflict prevention through the sharing of experiences and strengthen EU-Asia dialogue on justice and home affairs, an area that includes, in particular, the right to asylum, immigration and arms trafficking.

Mutual trade and investment flows must benefit from better market access and investment conditions on both sides. Efforts must be made to encourage contacts between the private sector (especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)) and in particular the high technology sector, strengthen dialogue on economic and financial policy, and enhance market access for the poorest developing countries.

In order to reduce poverty, the Commission will give priority in its cooperation programmes to key issues such as education and health, economic and social governance, and the link between environment and poverty. Enhanced dialogue on social policy issues would make it possible to exchange experiences on the most appropriate method of addressing the challenges of globalisation and modernisation.

Promoting civil society and a dialogue between Asia and Europe must encourage democracy, good governance and the rule of law. As regards human rights, constructive exchanges, such as the dialogue with China on human rights, should pave the way for better cooperation.

It is also important to conclude partnerships and build alliances in addressing global issues such as the reform of the United Nations, the World Trade Organisation, the environment and other challenges, for example international crime, terrorism and the spread of AIDS.

The opening of new delegations is one of the instruments that promotes better mutual knowledge between Europe and Asia. Support should also be provided for university, cultural and scientific exchanges and for civil society contacts between the regions.

The Communication also sets out specific measures to target the EU’s initiatives concerning the different component parts of Asia (South Asia, South-East Asia, North-East Asia and Australasia, which is included for the first time in the EU-Asia strategic framework). These measures aim first and foremost to improve relations with certain countries in the region and cover bilateral issues with each country, while providing a framework for the overall relations between Europe and Asia. The Commission favours a pragmatic approach, based on a specific analysis of its relations with each country or group of countries.

At an institutional level, the EU’s relations with Asia have developed considerably in recent years. The first bilateral summit was held in 1991 with Japan. Similar summits have been organised recently with India and China as well as with East Asia as a whole under the ASEM process (Asia-Europe Meeting). At ministerial level, the EU’s dialogue with the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN) on the one hand, and with Australia and New Zealand on the other, continues to make progress.

The ASEM process

The ASEM process

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about The ASEM process

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

The ASEM process (Asia-Europe meeting)

Document or Iniciative

Commission working document, of 18 April 2000: Perspectives and Priorities for the ASEM Process (Asia-Europe Meeting) into the new decade [COM(2000) 241 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

ASEM is an informal process of dialogue bringing together the Member States, the European Commission and ten Asian countries: Brunei, China, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Vietnam.

The dialogue takes place at several levels: there are Summit-level meetings, which are attended by the Asian and European Heads of State or Government and the President of the Commission, and Ministerial-level meetings on foreign affairs, finance, the economy, the environment, or science and technology. Discussions take place under three pillars: the political pillar, the economic and financial pillar, and the cultural and intellectual pillar. The larger meetings are prepared by the group of Coordinators, made up of four representatives: the Presidency, the European Commission and two Asian countries in rotation. To date, there have been four summits: in Bangkok in 1996, in London in 1998, in Seoul in 2000 and in Copenhagen in 2002. There have been many Ministerial-level meetings in the various fields.

In this document, the Commission emphasises the informal character of the process, which it regards as one of its greatest assets, and its pluralistic dimension. The Commission considers that the main comparative advantage of the process is its ability to stimulate and facilitate work in bilateral and multilateral fora, and to promote dialogue and mutual understanding in areas where a consensus can be reached.

In 2000, the Commission was concerned that the process could run out of steam if it failed to show the public and the world of business that it was still relevant to their concerns and interests. At the same time, it stressed the importance of ASEM’s potential, and called on public opinion to support the process and encourage the participation of civil society.

Priorities

In its working document, the Commission sets out general priorities for the three pillars of ASEM. Their aim is to build on the achievements of the process and deepen relations between the two regions. In the political field, and with a view to focusing on issues of common interest, the Commission proposes:

  • to intensify the high-level dialogue;
  • to strengthen networking and informal dialogue;
  • to provide for an exchange of views in the context of appropriate international institutions;
  • to support human rights, democracy and the rule of law;
  • to make joint efforts in addressing global issues that the partnership could further.

In the economic field: The aim is to strengthen the economic partnership, giving priority to dialogue at different levels: between companies, between the public and private sectors, between Finance and Economic Ministers, as well as maintaining a dialogue on more general socio-economic issues.

The intensification of the dialogue between the Economic Ministers and their Senior Officials should:

  • promote the strengthening of the WTO multilateral trade system;
  • strengthen two-way trade and investment flows;
  • establish an enhanced climate for business cooperation;
  • enhance dialogue and cooperation in key sectors for the future, such as infrastructure, transport, high-technology, services, telecommunications.

In the cultural and intellectual fields, ASEM should focus on promoting enhanced contacts and strengthened mutual awareness between the peoples of the two regions. The Commission calls for enhanced dialogue and cooperation in the fields of science and technology, the environment, social sciences, the arts and humanities, and the promotion of networking and increased contact and exchanges in the field of education. It proposes to continue to lend support to the Asia-Europe Foundation as a catalyst for cultural and intellectual dialogue between the two regions.

The Commission sets five specific priorities for the Seoul Summit:

  • an enhanced exchange of views on regional and global security issues;
  • enhanced dialogue and cooperation on trade, social policy and economic issues;
  • intensified educational exchanges;
  • cooperation in the field of consumer protection;
  • a possible broadening of participation in the ASEM process.

Related Acts

(September 2002)

The Copenhagen Summit approved the Copenhagen Declaration on Cooperation against International Terrorism and the Copenhagen Cooperation Programme on Fighting International Terrorism. The Summit also agreed that ASEM’s priorities would be closer economic cooperation, cooperation in the social, educational and environmental fields and a dialogue on cultures and civilisations. The next summit will take place in Vietnam in 2004.

Seoul Summit (October 2000)

This Summit, which is recognised as a historic milestone in the evolution of the ASEM process, approved the Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework 2000, building on the decisions taken in London. It sets a common vision for the future, as well as the aims, priorities and mechanisms to take the process into the 21st century. The partners agreed to strive for a common goal of maintaining peace and stability, and of promoting conditions conducive to sustainable economic and social development. Other ASEM initiatives were endorsed, relating to globalisation and information technology, the development of human resources, the environment, health, and transnational law enforcement matters.

In addition to coordination mechanisms, the Framework proposes that the Economy, Finance and Foreign Affairs Ministers meet regularly, at least once a year. A group of ASEM contact officials will facilitate exchanges of information.

London Summit (April 1998)

The London Summit adopted an Asia-Europe Cooperation Framework and established an Asia-Europe Vision Group to examine medium and long term perspectives for relations between the two regions. The Heads of State or Government also endorsed an action plan on trade facilitation and another on promoting investment. In response to the economic and financial crisis in Asia, they also agreed to create an ASEM Trust Fund and a European financial expertise network to overcome the effects of the crisis and avert new crises.

The process must be conducted on a basis of equal partnership, mutual respect and mutual benefits. It need not be institutionalised and should be an open and evolutionary process, managing the three pillars in parallel. The priorities set form the basis of those taken up by the Commission in 2000. The summit also refers to the need for increased cooperation in the fields of science and technology, culture, human resources, development, the fight against drug trafficking, money laundering, terrorism and international organised crime.

The Cooperation Framework provides that the Foreign Affairs Ministers and their Senior Officials are responsible for the overall coordination of ASEM activities. Any proposals for new activities must be beneficial to both parties, contribute to the general objectives, propose well-defined goals and actors, avoid duplicating activities and involve a sufficient number of partners.

Bangkok Summit (March 1996)

At the inaugural ASEM in Bangkok, the Heads of State or Government decided to establish an Asia-Europe Environmental Technology Centre in Bangkok. They also decided to set up an Asia-Europe Foundation with headquarters in Singapore, an Asia-Europe university programme and youth exchange programmes to strengthen cultural ties. They also agreed to conduct a study on the integration of the trans-Asian rail network and its possible integration into the trans-European network.

EEC-China Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement

EEC-China Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EEC-China Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

EEC-China Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement

Document or Iniciative

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2616/85 of 16 September 1985 concerning the conclusion of a Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between the European Economic Community and the People’s Republic of China.

Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between the European Economic Community and the People’s Republic of China.

Summary

This Agreement replaces the trade agreement concluded between the European Economic Community (EEC) and the People’s Republic of China on 3 April 1978. It aims to introduce a new stage, to promote and intensify trade and to encourage the steady expansion of economic cooperation in the mutual interest of both parties.

Trade cooperation

Both parties confirm their determination to encourage trade, improve its structure in order to diversify it, and take the necessary measures to facilitate it.

They grant each other most-favoured nation treatment in all matters regarding:

  • customs duties and charges of all kinds (including the procedures for the collection of such duties or charges) applied to the import, export, re-export, or transit of products;
  • regulations, procedures and formalities concerning customs clearance, transit, warehousing and transhipment of products imported or exported;
  • taxes and other internal charges levied directly or indirectly on products or services imported or exported;
  • administrative formalities for the issue of import or export licences.

There are, however, exceptions. This treatment is not applied to:

  • advantages accorded by the EEC or China to:

– states with which they share membership of a customs union or free trade area;

– neighbouring countries for the purpose of facilitating border trade;

  • measures which the EEC or China may take in order to meet their obligations under international commodity agreements.

The Agreement also aims to achieve a balance in trade; it therefore provides for any obvious imbalance to be examined by the Joint Committee with a view to recommendations.

China must give favourable consideration to EEC imports. The EEC, for its part, will gradually move towards greater liberalisation for imports from China. It will endeavour to expand the list of products that may be freely imported and increase the amount of quotas.

Provision is made for information to be exchanged before either party takes any action. In exceptional cases where rapid action is required, the two parties must hold friendly consultations as soon as possible before acting. Both parties are to ensure that in any event their actions do not prejudice the general objectives of the Agreement.

Trade in goods and the provision of services is to be effected at market-related prices and rates. Payments for the transactions may be made in any convertible currency accepted by the two parties concerned by the transactions.

Economic cooperation

In order to promote the development of their industry and agriculture, diversify their economic links, encourage scientific and technological progress, open up new sources of supply and new markets, help to develop their economies and raise their respective standards of living, the two parties agree to develop economic cooperation in:

  • industry and mining;
  • agriculture, including agro-industry;
  • science and technology;
  • energy;
  • transport and communication;
  • the protection of the environment;
  • cooperation in third countries.

The EEC and China will also encourage industrial and technical cooperation through, for instance, joint production, joint ventures, common exploitation, the transfer of technology, contacts and activities to promote exchanges between the business communities, seminars, cooperation between financial institutions, consultancy services, technical assistance and continuous exchange of information.

The parties also undertake to encourage investment, in particular by creating a favourable climate by providing investment promotion and protection arrangements.

The EEC states that it is prepared to continue its development activities in China in the context of development aid. The Member States are, for their part, entirely free to engage in bilateral activities in the field of economic cooperation and to conclude new economic cooperation agreements with China where appropriate.

Joint Committee

The Agreement establishes a Joint Committee made up of representatives of the contracting parties. It meets once a year, in Brussels and Beijing alternately, and is chaired by each party in turn. Extraordinary meetings may be convened and working parties set up. The Joint Committee’s tasks are:

  • to monitor and examine the functioning of the Agreement;
  • to examine any questions that may arise in the implementation of the Agreement;
  • to examine issues that might hinder cooperation;
  • to examine new means and possibilities of developing trade and economic cooperation;
  • to make recommendations for achieving the objectives of the Agreement.

The Agreement was concluded for an initial period of five years and is renewed automatically every year provided neither of the contracting parties gives written notice of termination six months before its expiry. The Agreement is still in force in 2004.

References

Act Entry into force Deadline for transposition in the Member States Official Journal
Council Regulation (EEC) No 2616/85 and Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement between the European Economic Community and the People’s Republic of China. 22.09.1985 OJ L 250 of 19.9.1985

Related Acts

In 1994 and 2002 the Agreement was supplemented by exchanges of letters establishing broader political dialogue between the EU and China.

In 2003 the Commission adopted a policy paper on “A maturing partnership – shared interests and challenges in EU-China relations” [COM(2003) 533 final] which supplements and updates the 2001 Communication on ” EU strategy towards China: Implementation of the 1998 communication and future steps for a more effective EU policy.”

In 2006, the Commission proposed and made recommendations to strengthen the EU – China partnership in its Communication entitled ‘EU – China: Closer partners, growing responsibilities’, of 24 October 2006 [COM(2006) 631 final].

Council Decision of 16 November 2004 on the conclusion of an Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters [Official Journal L 375 of 23 December 2004].

Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters [Official Journal L 375 of 23 December 2004].

This agreement entered into force on 1 April 2005.

EU-China relations: a maturing partnership

EU-China relations: a maturing partnership

Outline of the Community (European Union) legislation about EU-China relations: a maturing partnership

Topics

These categories group together and put in context the legislative and non-legislative initiatives which deal with the same topic.

External relations > Relations with third countries > Asia

EU-China relations: a maturing partnership

Document or Iniciative

Commission guidance document of September 10 entitled “A maturing partnership – shared interests and challenges in EU-China relations” (updating of Commission communications of 1998 and 2001 on EU-China relations) [COM(2003) 533 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Summary

This document, adopted by the Council on 13 October 2003, reviews the achievements of the 2001 strategy towards China, and the 1998 document aimed at establishing a “global partnership” with the country. The Commission believes that the overall objectives are still largely valid, but recognises the need to update the action plan.

The new maturity of this relationship is based on closer coordination. The range of issues has widened, political dialogue has evolved and a number of sectoral agreements have been concluded. In the current climate, there is undeniable interest in acting as strategic partners, given the increasing importance of both actors on the world stage and their converging positions, particularly with regard to the essential role of organisations and multilateral systems.

Charting a course for EU action

The document sets out five priority areas, each accompanied by its context, its implementation since 2001 and the new actions proposed by the EU and China. The first is shared responsibilities in promoting global governance. According to the Commission, China could play a fundamental role in reconciling the interests of developing and developed countries, and in promoting peace and stability in Asia.

With an increasingly active and constructive foreign policy, China has seen how well the measures proposed by the 2001 strategy have progressed. Political dialogue has been strengthened, with priority on human rights and participation in it diversified. Issues concerning Taiwan, Hong Kong and Macao have also been addressed, as have disarmament and global environmental issues.

Co-operation on Burma/Myanmar, illegal migration and trafficking in human beings has been stepped up. On the issue of trafficking, the Commission wants to conclude a readmission agreement.

New actions proposed by the Commission in this area include reinforced political dialogue that stresses quality over quantity through the organisation of more frequent consultations, and the coordination of Member States’ policies towards China, putting China on the agenda in the EU’s dialogue with certain third countries.

There are three levels of priorities for political dialogue:

  • bilateral: human rights, finding a solution to the question of Tibet, illegal migration, greater cooperation in areas of justice and home affairs, Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan;
  • regional: strengthening cooperation on issues of mutual concern in the region as regards to assuring peace and security, a continuation of China’s dynamic approach in the ASEM process, enhancing consultations with China on the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) to reinforce the ARF’s role on regional security issues;
  • global: more frequent dialogue on global governance issues, the promotion of a coordinated approach and of joint EU-China initiatives, the promotion of multilateralism, of security, non-proliferation/disarmament issues, strengthened dialogue on counter-terrorism, collaboration in the face of global environmental challenges and joint research into SARS.

The second activity is supporting China’s transition to an open society based upon the rule of law and the respect for human rights. China has made progress towards the rule of law, and civil society has developed significantly. There is, however, still a significant gap between the current human rights situation in China and internationally accepted standards. Although EU-China dialogue has borne fruit, through the organisation of seminars, exchanges of views and assistance programmes, there are still issues to be resolved, such as the death penalty, administrative detention and torture. Freedom of expression, of religion and of association and the rights of minorities are still causes for concern.

The proposed new actions involve stepping up cooperation projects to complement the dialogue. This dialogue should be carried out at junior minister level, focusing on areas that are lagging behind, placing emphasis on increased visibility and transparency, and promoting exchanges between experts. Cooperation programmes should revolve around human rights and good governance, with training programmes for legal professionals, and a sharing of know-how and ensuring that it is widely applied. A third aspect involves support for civil society, encouraging contacts and providing assistance for capacity-building and the creation of networks.

Promoting China’s economic opening at home and abroad is the third activity proposed. China’s integration into the world economy is in everyone’s interest, and the Commission is eager to assist in the process. In the wake of its accession to the WTO in 2001, China has benefited greatly from globalisation, becoming a powerhouse of economic growth for the region.

Despite progress in internal reform, some problems remain. They are mainly linked to market access, services, the enforcement of intellectual property rights and adherence to international standards. Reform and opening have been accompanied by a significant rise in unemployment and underemployment, creating a sizeable rural-urban divide.

In 2001, an EU network was created to track China’s implementation of WTO commitments, with regular consultations and joint studies. Sectoral dialogue has also been stepped up, notably with regard to industrial products, the information society, environmental policies, research and the promotion of human development. New bilateral agreements have been drawn up for maritime transport and the “authorised destination status”. Proposals for agreements on administrative assistance for satellite navigation have also been set up.

The Commission believes that new actions are required in the following areas:

  • the WTO, trade and investment; The Commission is putting forward various initiatives for the adoption of WTO commitments, the Doha Development Agenda, regional integration, intellectual property rights, support for initiatives from Community industry, and other measures linked directly to trade;
  • sectoral issues, including industrial products, the information society, sanitary and phyto-sanitary questions, energy and environmental policies, nuclear research, science and technology, the ITER fusion research project and a cooperation agreement in the framework of the Galileo satellite navigation project;
  • economic and social reform; The Commission proposes supporting reforms in all these areas, promoting exchanges of experience in areas of regional and macroeconomic policies, a cooperation project for the reform of social security, dialogue on industrial policy and efforts to involve civil society more closely.

The fourth activity is the EU-China Co-operation Programme – a mutually beneficial partnership underpinning EU objectives. China is part of many Union-financed programmes in the Asian region (the Asia Information Technology and Communication Programme, Asia-Invest, Asia-Link, etc.), which has improved its cooperation with the Union. There is, however, a delay in the implementation of the National Indicative Programme (NIP) for 2002-2004, and the Commission therefore proposes completing the mid-term NIP review and drawing up a new programme to cover 2005-2006. The Chinese authorities should be involved in its preparation, and the multiannual approach should be maintained. Coordination with, and consideration of existing horizontal assistance programmes is also needed.

The fifth and final activity aims at increased EU visibility in China. The increasing access of individual Chinese citizens to sources of information should allow the EU get its message across. The Commission proposes to concentrate on four points: sharing China’s concern for a more balanced international order, the defence of a number of shared values, support for reforms underway in China, and the fact that the EU is a major global trading power and market.

Further Commission proposals in this domain include a series of activities such as a study of the perception of the EU in China, spreading more information, raising awareness in China of EU cooperation with China, and reinforcing people-to-people exchanges. Rationalising the current institutional structure, and prioritising quality and effective coordination are other concerns for which the Commission has solutions to propose.

Related Acts

Council Decision of 16 November 2004 on the conclusion of an Agreement between the European Community and the Government of the People’s Republic of China on cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters [Official Journal L 375 of 23.12.2004].

Proposal of 23 April 2004 for a Council Decision on the signing of the Cooperation Agreement on a Civil Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) – GALILEO between the European Community and its Member States and the People’s Republic of China [COM(2003) 578 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

2004/265/EC: Council Decision of 8 March 2004 concerning the conclusion of thebetween the European Community and the National Tourism Administration of the People’s Republic of China on visa and related issues concerning tourist groups from the People’s Republic of China (ADS) [Official Journal L 083 of 20.03.2004].

Strategy document for China 2002-2006, approved on 1 March 2002 ( )

Communication from the Commission to the Council and the European Parliament of 15 May 2001, “EU Strategy towards China: Implementation of the 1998 Communication and Future Steps for a more Effective EU Policy” [COM(2001) 265 final – Not published in the Official Journal]

2000/16/EC: Council Decision of 2 December 1999 concluding the Agreement for scientific and technological cooperation between the European Community and the Government of the People’s Republic of China [Official Journal L 006 of 11.01.2000].

Communication from the Commission of 25 March 1998 – Building a comprehensive partnership with China [COM (1998) 181 final – not published in the Official Journal].

Communication from the Commission – A long-term Policy for China-Europe Relations [COM(1995) 279 final – Not published in the Official Journal].

Council Regulation (EEC) No 2616/85 of 16 September 1985 concerning the conclusion of abetween the European Economic Community and the People’s Republic of China [Official Journal L 250 of 19.09.1985].