EU Relations with China

Strategic Partnership

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:

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.

Human rights  are discussed as an integrated part of the EU-China relationship under their agreed 2020 Strategic Agenda. Since 1995, specific human rights dialogues  have also been held regularly.