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We have in place for many years now the EU-China Round Table. Within this framework (which was started10 years ago, and was supported in the EU-China summit 2004), the EESC meets regularly with the Chinese Economic and Social Council. Just a few weeks ago we had our EU –China Round Table in Hangzhou. Our declaration adopted by the end of our discussions in April focused on sustainable urban development. Our two rapporteurs, Evelyne Pichenot on the European side, and Professor Zou Ji on the Chinese side, have done a huge work together.
The purpose of today's meeting is two-fold.
We thought it would be good if we, representatives from European organised civil society, would meet to exchange information about planned activities in Rio and to see how we could further foster our common values and positions throughout these diverse activities.
The second reason for today's meeting turns out to be very timely. Originally we had invited Timo Makela, Director of DG Environment, to give us a de-briefing on ongoing Rio negotiations in New York.
The EU and China share common views in many areas. The ever-increasing interdependence in this globally connected world that will put demands on us in terms of closer cooperation to face common challenges. Especially in the area of trade and investment, firstly, we must ensure that growth is sustainable, inclusive, and benefits all. We must take measures to make sure we operate sounds and stable financial systems, and commonly and strongly continue to defend the multilateral, open and rules-based trading system we have so carefully built over the last 50 or more years. In this context, the EU’s and China’s active and constructive engagement is paramount to ensuring that the WTO remains the core of the open trading system.
Over the past year we have been particularly active in engaging with our partners, the Chinese economic and social council. The purpose of this dialogue, which is done through what we call The EU-China Round Table have proven to be a very useful tool for putting across the demands and recommendations of civil society organisations to the EU and Chinese political authorities.