European Union and China hold trade talks despite rifts

14 Sept 2020

European Union and China hold trade talks despite rifts

Despite having tensions over Hong Kong's freedoms and Beijing's treatment of its Uighur minority, seeking trade and investment EU leaders will talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday.

A video-conference will be held by EU chiefs Charles Michel and Ursula von der Leyen and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to replace a full summit with all 27 EU leaders cancelled because of coronavirus, said Chinese officials.

An EU official said, "Even if there is a political objective to accelerate negotiations and conclude them by the end of the year, we will have this only if it is something worth having."

In June since a similar video summit has made "significant progress" in talks, says Brussels and by the end of the year officials hope to agree a roadmap to a deal as they also want they also want for European companies Beijing to improve market access.

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire told the German weekly Welt am Sonntag, the EU must define its own interests, and must be strong and independent of both China and the United States."