Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao has hit out at the continuing European arms embargo at the opening of the annual EU-China summit in Brussels.
Wen said he hoped the EU would drop the ban, imposed after the 1989 pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square.
EU officials admitted both parties had “agreed to disagree” on the arms embargo ahead of the talks.
Britain in particular has resisted pressure to review the ban.
European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso lauded achievements in trade despite the EU’s refusal to lift all tariffs on Chinese goods.
“In the last 10 years our trade in goods increased by 280 percent, our trade in services by 380 percent and our direct investment in China by 290 percent,” said Barroso.
“The complementarities and synergies between our economies have been used to good effect.”
The EU is still China’s single largest export market and China is the bloc’s second largest trading partner after the US.