14 March 2016 / The Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament have adopted a position paper with demands and proposals to ensure fair conditions are upheld in the European Union's trade policy towards China. The group also calls for a strategy to engage the EU's partners in the World Trade Organisation (WTO) to make sure that China is not granted full 'market economy' status before it actually complies with the rules.
S&D vice-president for foreign relations Victor Boştinaru MEP said:
"We believe in the mutual benefits of EU-China relations and pragmatism is our driving force in relation to the issues arising from China's WTO accession protocol. Compliance with WTO rules is essential, but it is equally essential to have all the necessary tools in place in a timely manner to protect a healthy EU economy.
"The Commission must make the promised impact assessment available as soon as possible, because time is now a key element.
"The S&D Group was united in adopting its position paper and it will be united in the fight for balanced and reciprocally beneficial EU-China relations, including in the context of the EU-China Bilateral Investment Agreement currently being negotiated."
S&D spokesperson on trade David Martin MEP said:
"Europe must defend its jobs and industry in the face of unfair competition. That is the clear message set out in this position paper adopted by the S&D Group.
"Whilst valuing the economic benefits of greater co-operation with China, the world's largest trading nation, Europe must not be a soft touch. We urgently need to modernise our trade defence measures and should not be afraid to use all the tools at our disposal to protect European industries against dumping and other harmful trade practices."
S&D spokesperson on trade relations with China Alessia Mosca MEP said:
"Commercial relations between the EU and China must be fully regulated and they must comply with WTO obligations. Therefore, we need to find a way to ensure that European workers and producers are protected from unfair trading practices.
"Granting automatic 'market economy' status to China could undermine all our efforts to ensure a level playing field globally. Moreover, we ask all European institutions to co-operate and unlock the modernisation and strengthening of the EU's trade defence instruments."
Source: S&D website