China's Xi Jinping seeks stronger trade ties with Europe

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China's Xi Jinping seeks stronger trade ties with Europe

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Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday became the first-ever leader of his country to visit the EU headquarters that looked to strengthen trade ties between Beijing and the 28-member bloc.

President Xi arrived in Brussels, Belgium on Sunday in the last stop of a European tour that also took in France, the Netherlands and Germany.

Relations between the EU and China have been strained in recent months amid rows over so-called ‘dumping’: a practice when manufacturers export products abroad at a lower price than they charge in their home market or below the cost of production.

EU officials decided to slap high tariffs on solar panels last year over this issue; China responded by opening a tit-for-tat probe into EU wine imports – the investigation was dropped just before Xi’s visit.

His meetings at the EU have two goals: first, China is keen to encourage more foreign direct investment. The country accounts for two percent of the EU’s overall investments abroad.

Secondly, the Chinese president, who has brought a delegation of businessman in tow, wants to boost the amount of bilateral trade between the two economics, which currently stands at 428 billion euros a year.