Delegation of the European Union to China

China and the EU

20/01/2020 - 14:52
EU relations with Country

This page gives an outline of the relations between the European Union (EU) and China.

The EU's China policy is defined by the 'Elements for a new EU Strategy on China' and 'Council Conclusions EU Strategy on China' which were recently reviewed in the 'EU-China Strategic Outlook'. Together these documents reflect the fundamental premises of EU's engagement: promotion of democracy, rule of law, human rights, and respect for the UN Charter and international law, with the pursuit for reciprocal benefits in political and economic relations.

The practical cooperation agenda for the EU and China is set out in the annual EU-China Summit Joint Statements and the mid-term 'EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation', jointly signed by the EU and China in 2013. The latter covers the areas of: peace and security, prosperity, sustainable development, and people-to-people exchanges and is currently under review as the EU and China work to identify the targets for 2025. 

Published in 2019, the Strategic Outlook acknowledges a shift in the balance of challenges and opportunities in EU-China relations and takes a more assertive and multi-faceted approach that defines China simultaneously as a competitor, a negotiating partner, and a systemic rival. On these bases, it seeks to set relations on a fair and reciprocal level, built on a flexible, pragmatic and comprehensive approach which enables a principled defence of the interests and values. Reciprocity, a level playing field and fair competition across all areas of cooperation will be strengthened, especially as the EU and China work towards the completion of a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment. In addition, through the EU connectivity initiative, infrastructure, trading, digital, and people-to-people connections between Europe and China can be improved. In line with their UN and G20 commitments, the strategy directs the EU to find practical ways to engage China in accepting new responsibilities. For its part, the EU will seek to maximise its internal cohesion, solidarity, and effectiveness in its dealings with China.

Bilateral relations are conducted at the highest level through the annual EU-China Summit which is usually preceded by the three key bilateral dialogues: the Strategic Dialogue, the High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED) and the High-Level People-to-People Dialogue.

·  EU-China leaders' meeting via video conference, 14 September 2020

·  EU-China summit via video conference, 22 June 2020

On 30 December 2020 the EU and China reached an agreement in principle on a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment:


The EU and China hold an annual Strategic Dialogue to discuss bilateral relations with a focus on foreign and security policy, at the level of the High Representative/Vice President on the EU side, and the State Councillor for Foreign Affairs on the Chinese side. The EU aims to reinforce its engagement with China on foreign policy and security issues and will continue to encourage China to mobilise its diplomatic and other resources to support international security; contribute to peace and security in the EU's neighbourhood in line with international law; ensure freedom of navigation and overflight in the East and South China Seas; settle disputes peacefully and in accordance with the rule of law; seek common ground with China on disarmament, non-proliferation, counter-terrorism and cyberspace; and explore opportunities for establishing trilateral cooperation with China to support development, capacity-building, and peacekeeping operations in developing countries.

The 'EU Strategy on Connecting Europe and Asia' provides a framework for commitment by enabling the Union to seek synergies in transport, energy, human and digital connectivity on the precondition of respect for international standards and norms. Based on the pillars of sustainability and comprehensiveness, the EU is ready to discuss possible areas of cooperation among Connectivity and the Chinese Belt and Road Initiative, using UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as guiding principle to achieve an inclusive, inter-operable infrastructure system connecting Europe to Asia.

The EU adheres to international rules and norms, and respect for human rights, as set out in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. The Principles of Engagement set out in the strategy state that:

"The EU's external action is governed by the principles which have inspired its own creation: democracy, the rule of law, human rights and respect for the principles of the UN Charter and international law. These principles are reflected in the Chinese constitution and in the international instruments that China has signed. The protection of human rights will continue to be a core part of the EU's engagement with China. The EU believes that treating human beings with dignity and respect is essential if citizens are to fulfil themselves and flourish creatively, and is good for the stability and security of Chinese society and the world order."

The EU is committed to promoting the universality of human rights and to improve the human rights situation in China in an active and sustained way. In doing so, constructive dialogue and outreach remain the European Union's preferred means of action.

Human rights are discussed between the EU and China during high level dialogues and under a dedicated Human Rights Dialogue. The EU-China Human Rights Dialogue was established in 1995 and has been meeting regularly ever since. In recent years, China has made considerable progress in a number of areas of human development, including improving the social and economic situation for hundreds of millions of its citizens. In the sphere of civil rights, we also see a reduction in the number of crimes eligible for the death penalty, increasing professionalisation of the judiciary as well as the introduction of China's first national anti-domestic violence law. 

Notwithstanding the significant differences between the EU and China concerning human rights, both sides are committed, as agreed in the EU-China 2020 Agenda, to engaging on these issues and to conducting open and frank discussions. The Human Rights Dialogue allows the two sides to convey their concerns about issues such as: the rule of law, freedom of expression, freedom of religion and belief, freedom of assembly and association, the death penalty, prevention of torture, the situation of human rights defenders, the rights of persons belonging to ethnic and religious minorities, social integration and other issues relating to social, cultural, civil and political rights.

The dialogue, together with public diplomacy and outreach efforts by the EU and its Member States, has contributed to some positive results. The EU is determined to continue to work with China, building on China's own Human Rights Action Plan, to promote respect for international human rights obligations.

The European Union is committed to using its co-operation programmes to promote human rights in China. In this regard, it supports a number of projects to promote the universal values of human rights in China, including through projects specifically funded under the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR). It also supports seminars and other activities which allow European and Chinese experts to exchange views and experiences.

In today's world, the pace of growth of economic inter-connectedness between the EU and China has been remarkable. Increased interdependence demands closer cooperation to face common challenges, such as ensuring sustainable and inclusive growth, making financial systems more stable and robust, and addressing the economic and social consequences of an aging population. For this reason, the EU and China work together on a large number of economic and financial matters, ranging from how to prevent regulatory arbitrages between financial jurisdictions, the promotion of sound financial innovation and supervision, and discussing synergies in addressing structural issues.

The EU seeks to promote reciprocal understanding between the EU and China of our respective economic and financial market developments. This helps manage the EU and China's impact on each other's economies and to find common solutions.

EU-China cooperation requires close and regular contact, and is formalised through the following annual dialogues:

  • the High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue, chaired by a Vice President on the EU side and a Vice-Premier on the Chinese side;
  • the Economic and Financial Dialogue between the European Commission and the European Central Bank, on one side, and the Chinese Ministry of Finance, the People's Bank of China and the Chinese financial market regulators, on the other;
  • the Macroeconomic Dialogue between the European Commission and the National Development and Reform Commission of China. 


The European Investment Bank and China

The European Investment Bank is the finance arm of the European Union (EU). Owned by the Member States, it is the biggest multilateral financial institution in the world and one of the largest providers of climate finance. The EIB also works with 150 non-EU countries to complement EU and Member States’ development financing.

Headquartered in Luxembourg, the EIB is now represented in 23 Member States and 27 countries outside the EU. In China, as in many other cases, the EU Delegation hosts an EIB Office.

In China, a total amount of loans of EUR 2.5bn was provided by the EIB since 1995. In line with the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation and the EIB’s target of delivering 90% of EIB finance for climate action and environmental sustainability by 2025, the Bank’s investments in China focus on relevant sectors, such as forestry and energy efficiency .

The EIB Group includes the European Investment Fund (EIF), its subsidiary (30% owned by the European Commission) specialised in providing risk finance to benefit small and medium-sized enterprises. In 2018, the EIF and the Silk Road Fund, one of China’s sovereign funds, jointly established the China-EU Co-Investment Fund (“CECIF”) programme to support investment based in the EU and demonstrating a China angle.

In addition to financing activities, the EIB has also developed a long-lasting and two-way partnership with China regarding its funding. Not only is China an investor in EIB bonds but the EIB has also been working with the China Green Finance Committee (under the aegis of the People’s Bank of China) to develop a common definition between Europe and China of green projects and green bond standards. This can help avoid duplication of verification and certification, and assist in reducing costs of green bond issuance. In addition, both the EIB and China are represented at the International Platform on Sustainable Finance promoted by the European Commission.

For more information, please visit or contact

The European Union and China are two of the biggest trading partners in the world. China is now the EU's second trading partner behind the United States and the EU is China's biggest trading partner. The EU and China therefore have a major stake in each other's sustainable growth and prosperity.

The EU is committed to open trading relations with China, and the EU wants to ensure that China trades fairly, respects intellectual property rights and meets its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organisation (WTO).

EU's trade policy towards China is set out in the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation and in the EU-China Strategy of 2016, which has been updated by the 'EU-China – A Strategic Outlook' -communication in March 2019.

The priorities for EU-China trade and economic priorities were confirmed by the 21st EU-China Summit in 2019. These include: investment negotiations; WTO work; GI-negotiations; quest for reciprocity, ensuring a level playing field; tackling overcapacity; and increased market access. All these priorities have a common thread: To support genuine economic reform and opening up in China. They are key for keeping the trade and economic relationship healthy and prosperous for both sided, and to get China to full responsibility for maintaining the rules-based multilateral trading system.

On 30 December 2020 the EU and China reached an agreement in principle on a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment. It will improve the market access conditions for EU companies in China. It will also help to rebalance the current asymmetry in our respective market openness, to level the playing field for our companies operating in China, and to promote sustainable development:

Issues arising in the bilateral trade and investment relationship are discussed across a range of dialogues.

In view of the Intellectual Property (‘IP’) issues at stake, the EU has a dedicated cooperation with China: the IP Key program

The EU is also active in helping European SMEs interested in the Chinese market: they can make use of the EU SME Centre and the China IPR SME Helpdesk:

The events organised could be found from:

The European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) investigates matters relating to fraud, corruption and other illegal activities affecting both EU expenditure and EU revenue.

In particular, OLAF is responsible for investigating customs fraud (for instance false declarations of origin, undervaluation or mis-description of goods imported into the EU with a view to evade EU customs duties).  Such investigations are performed in close cooperation with national customs authorities both inside and outside the EU.  Due to the sheer size of EU-China bilateral trade, China is understandably a key partner in this regard.

Cooperation with China with a view to preventing, detecting and combating breaches of customs legislation is based on

In addition to its investigations concerning cases of revenue fraud, OLAF coordinates or participates in large-scale Joint Customs Operations (JCOs) involving EU and international operational partners, including China.

See Also:

EU-China trade relations

EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment


Research and Innovation are central to the EU-China strategic partnership. An Agreement for Scientific and Technological Cooperation between the two parties has been in place since 1998, and a joint declaration setting up a High Level Innovation Cooperation Dialogue   was signed in 2012. Through this dialogue, which first took place in 2013, the two sides are working to improve mutual understanding of their respective innovation systems and policies, promote effective innovation policies and support measures, and tackle the framework conditions for innovation. The EU and China are also working towards ensuring reciprocal access to their research and innovation funding programmes.

Horizon 2020, the EU's Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, offers opportunities for European and Chinese researchers to collaborate across a range of scientific disciplines and create and strengthen partnerships. The EU and China are working together in a number of specific areas of joint interest and mutual benefit:

PDF icon Research, Innovation and Science cooperation between EU Member States, H2020 Associated Countries, the EU and China

The EU Delegation in Beijing has an important role in promoting dialogue on research and innovation between the EU Member States' embassies in China, raising awareness of EU policies and programmes, and supporting the coordination and development of joint activities and approaches vis-a-vis China.

EU-China Co-funding Mechanism (CFM)

To support joint research and innovation projects between European and Chinese universities, research institutions and companies in strategic areas of common interest under the framework of Horizon 2020, the EU and the Chinese government launched a joint initiative – the Co-funding Mechanism (CFM). It was first agreed at the 2nd EU-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue, endorsed by the 17th EU- China Summit in June 2015, and announced in September 2015 on the occasion of the visit to China of European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation Carlos Moedas. Based on the results of the calls, it was agreed at the 3rd EU-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue, endorsed by the 19th EU-China Summit in June 2017, to extend the CFM under the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2018-2020. Through CFM, funds are provided by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) for European and Chinese participants based in China involved in Horizon 2020 research and innovation projects.

Related documents:

Call for proposals published under the EU-China Co-Funding Mechanism for Research and Innovation for the first batch of projects 2021

On 30 September 2020, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) published the call for proposals for the first batch of projects 2021 under the EU-China Co-funding Mechanism for Research and Innovation (CFM), as part of the "Inter-governmental Science and Technology Innovation (STI) Cooperation Special Programme" of China's National Key R&D Programme (NKP). The call seeks applications by China-based full participants in the priority areas of food, agriculture and biotechnologies, environment (including sustainable urbanisation, climate change), transport, aviation etc. under the Horizon 2020 Work Programmes 2018, 2019 and 2020. Applications will be submitted in two stages including pre-applications and full applications, with a deadline for submission of pre-applications on 27 November 2020. Please visit the MOST website  for details of the application guide.

PDF icon Unofficial translation for reference

Call for proposals published for 2020 under the EU-China Co-Funding Mechanism for Research and Innovation

On 23 April 2020, the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) published the call for proposals for year 2020 under the EU-China Co-funding Mechanism for Research and Innovation (CFM), as part of the "Inter-governmental Science and Technology Innovation (STI) Cooperation Special Programme" of China's National Key R&D Programme (NKP). The call seeks applications by China-based full participants in the flagship initiatives on food, agriculture and biotechnologies and sustainable urbanisation as well as in the proposals addressing nine broad priority areas under Horizon 2020 Work Programmes 2018, 2019 and 2020. Applications will be submitted in two stages including pre-applications and full applications, with a deadline for submission of pre-applications on 15 June 2020. Please visit the MOST website  for details of the application guidelines.

Unofficial translation for reference: click here

First call for proposals published for 2019 under the EU-China Co-Funding Mechanism for Research and Innovation

Second call for proposals published for 2019 under the EU-China Co-Funding Mechanism for Research and Innovation

First call for proposals published for 2018 under the EU-China Co-Funding Mechanism for Research and Innovation

Second call for proposals published for 2018 under the EU-China Co-Funding Mechanism for Research and Innovation

PDF icon Questions & Answers on EU-China Co-funding Mechanism for Research and Innovation Cooperation


As agreed in the 4th EU-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue,  the joint roadmap for future EU-China STI collaboration will be launched.


Advance EU Access to Financial Incentives for Innovation in China

"Improving EU Access to National and Regional Financial Incentives for Innovation in China " is a European Union project financed under the Partnership Instrument of the European Commission,  as part of a monitoring of the effective implementation of the EU-China Joint Roadmap on Ensuring Reciprocal Access to Respective Research and Innovation Funding.  The actions of the project aim to increase the participation of European enterprises, research structures and scientists in Chinese national and local innovation funding programmes, and to enhance EU-China cooperation through joint research and innovation initiatives. The project also provides factual evidence and technical input to the EU-China Innovation Cooperation Dialogue to improve the innovation framework conditions for European research and innovation stakeholders in China. Prior to this project, the project "Advance EU Access to Financial Incentives for Innovation in China" produced a Guide for EU stakeholders on Chinese national Science and Technology funding programmes. The Guide introduces the five main funding programmes of the Chinese national funding system for research and innovation, explaining the rules for international participation and proposing recommendations for European stakeholders. To access the Guide*, please click here. In addition, a series of ad hoc reports produced by the project on specific topics in relation to the national STI programmes can be accessed at the project website:

  1. 12th and 13th Five-Year Plan for STI comparison
  2. Analysis of 2016 NKP cycles
  3. 13th Five-Year Plan for large research infrastructures
  4. Technology Innovation Guidance Fund
  5. Financial Incentives from national high-tech zones
  6. Analysis of 2017 NKP cycles
  7. Bases and Talents programme
  8. Major S&T Projects (Mega projects)
  9. NSFC research projects

* Note: This Guide was prepared with the financial assistance of the European Union. The views expressed herein are those of the contractor and do not represent the official views of either the European Commission or the European Union Delegation to China.


EURAXESS is an EU networking tool for European researchers working outside Europe and for non-European researchers who wish to collaborate and/or pursue a research career in Europe. For specific information on China, please visit


China and the EU share a strong focus on green transformation. China’s 13th Five Year Plan sets a clear path towards green development, whilst the EU is working towards green growth under the goals of Europe 2020 and the 7th Environmental Action Programme.

The main channels for EU-China environmental dialogue with the Chinese government are:

The Environment Policy Dialogue (EPD), held at ministerial level (since 2003), under which principles_for_technical_cooperation.pdf  were agreed in 2017. The latest EPD in April 2019 agreed on exchanges on strategic issues of biodiversity conservation, waste & chemical management, protection of the marine environment, pollution prevention and control and environmental governance and international cooperation on sustainable development ;

Circular Economy is an important political priority both in the EU and in China. On 16 July 2018, the MoU on Circular Economy Cooperation was signed by Mr. Jyrki Katainen, Vice-President of the European Commission and Mr. He Lifeng, Chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission of China, at the EU-China Summit. This allows the EU and China to establish a ministerial dialogue to work together to accelerate bilateral collaboration to better respond to common challenges and support a global transition to a resource-efficient and circular economic model in line with the Sustainable Development Goals. Given the increasing challenges from plastics waste and pollution to the environment, both leaders decided to take plastics as the priority area for both sides to work on together at the first stage. Scope for future cooperation will include but not be limited to dialogue on the design, planning, and implementation of strategies, legislation, policies, and research in areas of mutual interest, including major new initiatives; strategic exchanges on management systems and policy tools such as eco-design, eco-labelling, extended producer responsibility and green supply chains; strategic exchanges on best practices of circular economy in key fields such as  industrial parks, chemicals, plastics and waste;  exchanges on investments in and financing of circular economy.

As a reinforcement of Cooperation between the EU and China on water, both sides agreed to upgrade the level of cooperation to a ministerial level dialogue in 2017. The first Meeting of the EU-China Water Policy Dialogue was co-chaired by EU Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Mr. Karmenu Vella and Mr. E Jingping, Minister of Ministry of Water Resources of China on 2 April 2019.  Besides this high-level dialogue, the EU plays a crucial role in supporting the China-Europe Water Platform (link is external) (CEWP), established in 2012, to encourage an integrated approach to water management in China. The CEWP is a partnership with the Chinese Ministry of Water Resources, involving many EU Member States. It promotes policy dialogue on water sector reforms and encourages capacity-building, technical and business cooperation.

The Bilateral Cooperation Mechanism (BCM) on Forest Law Enforcement and Governance and Trade (FLEGT), with the Chinese State Forestry Administration, aims to tackle illegal logging and associated trade through domestic measures (information, legal frameworks and policies) and through joint work with other countries, including in Southeast Asia and Africa, to stem the trade in illegally logged timber. The EU FLEGT Action Plan includes the EU Timber Regulation, which aims to reduce illegal logging by ensuring that no illegal timber or timber products can be sold in the EU. The latest briefing note on developments relevant to the implementation and enforcement of the EU Timber Regulation covering the period April to June 2017 is available here

Through technical projects, the EU also engages with the National Forestry and Grassland Administration on wildlife protection and CITES (the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora) implementation.

Climate Change

Cooperation on climate change is a high priority for the EU and China. In 2005, the EU and China agreed to form a Climate Change Partnership to provide a high-level framework for cooperation and dialogue on climate change policies, to exchange views on key issues in international climate change negotiations and encourage low-carbon technology development and uptake. This was reinforced by the 2018 leaders' statement on climate change and energy as well as the MOU to enhance cooperation of Emissions Trading Schemes (ETS), where the two sides confirmed their commitments under the Paris Agreement and to step up cooperation to enhance its implementation and promote low greenhouse gas emissions, climate resilient and sustainable development.  They further agreed to intensify bilateral cooperation in a number of areas:

  • Long-term low greenhouse gas emission development strategies
  • emissions trading
  • energy efficiency
  • clean energy
  • low-emission transport
  • low-carbon cities
  • climate-related technology cooperation  (including Carbon Capture & Storage [CCS])
  • investment in climate and clean energy projects
  • adaption and climate resilience
  • cooperation with other developing countries


The 8th EU-China Energy Dialogue was held in Brussels between Commissioner for Climate Action and Energy Miguel Arias Cañete and the Administrator of the National Energy Administration of China Mr ZHANG Jianhua, back-to-back with the 21st EU-China Leaders’ Summit on 9 April 2019.

On this occasion, a Joint Statement on the implementation of EU-China Energy Cooperation was signed, in the presence of Donald Tusk, President of the Council of Europe, Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, and China's Premier Li Keqiang. The signature of the Joint Statement marks a new chapter in this long-standing and ongoing cooperation. Four priority areas for future cooperation have been identified, with the overarching goal to further advance the clean energy transition:

  • energy efficiency
  • renewable energy sources
  • design and transformation of the energy system
  • the role of innovative actors

The EU-China Energy Cooperation Platform (ECECP) has been established as a practical tool to support and operationalise the Energy Dialogue and to deliver on the specific objectives of EU-China bilateral energy cooperation. The overall objective of the project is to enhance EU-China cooperation on energy, in line with the EU’s Energy Union, the Clean Energy for All Europeans initiative and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change. This enhanced cooperation will help increase mutual trust and understanding between the EU and China, and contribute to a global transition towards clean energy on the basis of a common vision of a sustainable, reliable and secure energy system. The Platform is jointly steered by the Commission’s Directorate-General for Energy and the Chinese National Energy Administration. In addition to supporting policy dialogue and cooperation, the Platform will also create opportunities for EU innovative energy companies.

In mid-May 2019, the Platform was officially launched in Beijing; and in early July, a big conference titled "Promoting and Integrating Renewable Energy in China: Challenges and Opportunities" was organized, providing an opportunity for participants from various Chinese governmental bodies, research entities, grid operators and regulators, as well as foreign experts and representatives of EU energy companies active in China to discuss policies and identify solutions to support integration of various renewables in the energy system of China. In the second half of 2019, under the platform, other events (workshops, conferences and site visits) on various energy topics, e.g. energy efficiency, electricity market, and renewables, were scheduled.

Related document: Joint Statement on the Implementation of the EU-China Cooperation on Energy

Maritime Affairs and Fisheries

The EU and China have a longstanding cooperation on ocean affairs and the organisation of the EU-China Blue Year in 2017 created further momentum to strengthen bilateral cooperation. The "Blue Partnership for the Oceans: towards better ocean governance, sustainable fisheries and a thriving maritime economy" was signed at the 20th EU-China Summit on 16 July 2018 in Beijing. The Ocean Partnership with China was the first of its kind and sets out a comprehensive framework for cooperation in the domain of the oceans. In April 2019, at the EU-China Summit, political leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the effective implementation of the Blue Partnership for the Oceans, including cooperation on promoting sustainable fisheries and fighting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. In particular, leaders reaffirmed their commitment to the exchange on the conservation and sustainable use of Antarctic marine living resources, including the establishment of marine protected areas in the Antarctic Ocean.

On 5 September 2019, European Commissioner Karmenu VELLA invited more than 150 European and Chinese stakeholders, including Member States representatives, the business sector, academia, think tanks and NGOs to discuss a number of topics of common interest and identify possible joint actions in these areas. Click here for more information.


The fourth meeting of the EU-China Connectivity Platform was held in the margins of the 21st EU-China Summit on 9 April in Brussels. Leaders from both sides addressed the huge potential to further connect Europe and Asia in a sustainable manner and based on market principles, and looked at ways to create synergies between the EU’s approach to connectivity, including the Trans-European Transport Network, and China’s Belt and Road Initiative. Leaders committed to openness, transparency and a level playing field in the area of infrastructure connectivity, as well as mutually beneficial implementation of the EU-China Connectivity Platform projects. Leaders also welcomed the agreement reached under the Connectivity Platform on the Terms of Reference for a Joint Study to identify the most sustainable railways-based transport corridors between Europe and China.

Multiple activities have been carried out under the EU-China Connectivity Platform in 2019. A technical seminar was held in February, at which both sides shared their respective experience and practices on comprehensive transport policy planning; in July, the 5th Expert Group Meeting took place in Beijing at the premises of the China Development Bank, where the EU and China showcased pilot projects; and in October, a training seminar on EU transport policies and transport infrastructure investment policies was organised for 14 local government officials. A technical seminar and thematic working group meeting were scheduled at the end of November.        

Related documents:

Meeting Minutes of the 4th Chairs Meeting of the EU-China Connectivity Platform-EN

Minutes of the 4th Chairs Meeting of the EU-China Connectivity Platform – CH



The EU and China are major global players in agriculture.

In 2019, EU agri-food exports to China reached a record level of EUR 15.3 billion, corresponding to 10% of total EU agri-food exports. China is destination No 2 for EU agri-food exports in the world.  EU agri-food imports from China were valued at EUR 6.1 billion or 5 % of total EU agri-food imports.

The main channels for EU-China government cooperation are:

EU-China Dialogue on Agriculture: Since 2006 the EU and China meet annually in the framework of the EU-China Dialogue on Agriculture. This dialogue is part of the EU-China High-level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED). It discusses topics of mutual interest such as agricultural policies (like sustainable agriculture, rural development), agricultural trade and market access, agricultural research and innovation, cooperation in agriculture in international bodies (WTO, FAO, …).

Bilateral negotiations: a major milestone was reached in November 2019 when the negotiations on the agreement between the European Union and the government of the People’s Republic of China on cooperation on, and protection of, geographical indications (GIs) were concluded. The conclusions of these negotiations on the EU-CN GI Agreement represent an important deliverable of the EU-CN Summit of April 2019. The EU-CN GI Agreement is expected to enter into force in 2021. To learn more about the agreement see:

Commissioner  Hogan signs the conclusions of the negotiations of the EU-China GI Agreement with Minister of Commerce Zhong Shan  China in Beijing on 6 November 2019

Research Cooperation: The EU and China cooperate in agricultural research and innovation under the EU-CN Flagship Initiative on Food, Agriculture and Biotechnology (FAB). For the period 2014-2020, under the EU Horizon 2020 Framework Research Programme, the EU and China selected and co-funded 19 joint projects (and one more project is under evaluation in 2020). These projects significantly contribute to the development of new, innovative agriculture and   food techniques, in both the EU and China. This successful cooperation is expected to further thrive under the future EU Framework Research Programme Horizon Europe. 

The EU and China regard the Information and Communications Technologies sector (ICT sector) and the wider Digital Economy as strategic priorities. Indeed, achieving a Connected Digital Single Market for the EU is the second of the 10 political priorities for the Juncker Commission. Closer cooperation between the EU and China in this key sector is mutually beneficial. In order for progress to be sustainable, it must happen between equals on a level playing field that ensures reciprocal access to markets, standard-setting bodies and research & innovation programmes.

The increasing importance of the Digital Economy is also reflected in the wider bilateral relations between the EU and China, with the topic now regularly addressed at the EU-China Summit as well as in the High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue. In 2015, the European Commission signed a Joint Declaration on strategic cooperation in 5G mobile networks with China's Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT).

The European Commission's Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content & Technology (DG CONNECT) has also maintained an annual Dialogue on Information Technology, Telecommunications and Informatisation with the MIIT since 2009, co-chaired the EU-China Cyber Taskforce since its foundation in 2012, and contributed to trade and research related dialogues and other cooperation mechanisms.

The EU Delegation to China takes a holistic view regarding the sector's value chain and addresses questions concerning research, innovation and standardisation cooperation, besides taking up the concerns of industry and SMEs as they relate to operating in the Chinese market. Through the EU-China Trade Project, the EU Delegation also deals with issues around Internet governance as well as academic research cooperation in the sector, ranging from the Internet of Things to Smart Cities.

Further information can be found on the website of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

The EU Delegation to China manages a broad portfolio of programmes for a total value of EUR 91.2 M. With China as a graduated country with no specific envelope for development cooperation, the Delegation's focus is on consolidating results of past and current initiatives, while ensuring the sustainability of its actions in legal education, social protection reforms or climate change mitigation. The EU also supports civil society in contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in China in various policy areas, from governance to gender, to sustainable consumption and production. Moving away from traditional cooperation instruments, the EU Delegation has recently engaged in sustainable investment, as an innovative means to leverage public (and private) finance for SDGs.  With funding from the Asia Investment Facility (AIF) since 2018, EU grants support lending operations by European development finance institutions in the green sector. The first blending contract in China was signed with Kreditanstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), for EUR 5.57 M on green city development and more similar actions are currently in pipeline. In addition, the EU and China have agreed in 2017 to establish a stronger dialogue on development cooperation. This led to the visit of EU Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, to China in November 2018, and to the first development policy consultation between EU and the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA) in November 2019. Continued engagement is expected in the coming years, and opportunities to developing trilateral cooperation projects with China in Africa and in Asia are being explored.

An overview of EU – China cooperation portfolio is available at:

Through the Partnership Instrument (PI), the EU cooperates with China to advance areas of mutual interest and tackle global challenges. Managed by the EU Service for Foreign Policy Instruments, PI is the EU's first instrument specifically designed to promote the Union's strategic interests worldwide by reinforcing its external strategies, policies and actions. The instrument has four main objectives:

To achieve these objectives, the PI funds actions in China and the region covering bilateral policy priorities in areas such as agriculture, biodiversity, civil aviation, climate change, competition regulation, culture, digital cooperation, energy, environment, food safety, higher education, innovation, legal cooperation, migration, public diplomacy, responsible value chains, trade, urbanisation or water.

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