Officials from the EU and China have met in Brussels to discuss potential new approaches to bolstering trade and economic growth in both regions.
The sixth annual EU-China High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED) saw participating commissioners and ministers talking over a range of issues, under the overarching theme of "Strengthening Policy Coordination, Promoting Sustainable Growth".
Naturally, trade was one of the key items on the agenda, with the EU raising the need for significantly improved market access for European companies operating in China, as well as new measures to level the playing field for business and investment. A list of the key concerns on market access was presented to the Chinese delegates, with partners agreeing to work together to address structural market access problems hampering both sides.
The EU also pushed to conclude negotiations on an agreement on geographical indications in the first half of 2017, with the Chinese delegation reconfirming its commitment to conclude the negotiations as soon as possible. Further trade-related discussions pertained to how best to manage bilateral trade frictions, in compliance with World Trade Organization rules.
Other items on the HED agenda included solutions to production overcapacity issues in the Chinese steel sector, new steps to further stimulate two-way investment flows, and efforts to bolster the EU-China digital economy.
Jyrki Katainen, European Commission vice-president for jobs, growth, investment and competitiveness, said: "I believe our exchanges today allow us to see the wider picture and provide an effective, cooperative response to current challenges in the EU, China and globally.
"It is clear we share a commitment to strong, sustainable and balanced growth and our cooperation in all economic and trade issues will continue."
The EU is China's biggest trading partner, while China is the EU's second-largest trading partner after the US. As such, both parties have a significant stake in bolstering the growth of this relationship.