EU-China talks tackle regulation and trade barriers

By Guy Montague-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European union, Investment, International trade

Cosmetics and pharmaceuticals were high on the agenda at trade talks between the EU and China in Beijing this week.

The EU-China Joint Economic and Trade Committee met to run through the hurdles in the trade relationship and identify points of consensus.

In the cosmetics world improving regulatory standards in China has been identified as a priority following product safety scares and quality concerns.

Speeding up regulatory changes

China agreed to the talks this week to accelerate the process of revising and streamlining cosmetics standards.

The parties also agreed to open dialogue on the possibility of approximating the SPF levels in China with EU practice.

During the three-hour meeting, the parties also tackled trade in pharmaceuticals.

Reducing costs to foreign firms

On this subject China agreed to consult interested parties with a view to reducing the cost of importing Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (API) into the country.

The trade talks were hailed as a success although the EU side was critical of Chinese protectionism.

“We have made some progress today in identifying new trade opportunities, breaking down barriers and keeping solid investment flowing both ways,”​ said EU Commissioner Peter Mandelson.

However, according to the Financial Times, Mandelson was preparing on Thursday to give a speech in the Chinese city of Tianjin containing the words: “China appears to have put out the mat for foreign investment, but the door is still half closed. In some cases it appears to be swinging shut​.”

European companies often find that they come up against economic nationalism in China and are now looking to invest their Euros in other emerging markets. European investment in the country fell significantly last year.

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