Europe and China have begun talks on a new trade and security treaty. The EU’s head of foreign relations, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, set out her expectations: “Twenty years ago the EU and China were trading partners, but now we are strategic partners,” she said, adding that the treaty negotiations would be a “focus of the bilateral agenda for years ahead.”
China wants the EU to recognise it as an equal, which means giving it official status as a market economy. But before such a deal is reached the EU wants assurances that Beijing will impose stringent measures on its massive exports. The EU has most recently imposed anti-dumping rules against leather shoes. The bloc has also stressed that its arms embargo will not be lifted until China ratifies a UN convention on human rights.