EU, China to cooperate on tackling global food crisis, fertilizers

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The European Union said China agreed to work together to address global food insecurity, including through the export of fertilizers, after holding a bilateral meeting on trade and financial services.

Senior EU and Chinese officials agreed on “the need to prevent supply chain disruptions and discussed increasing transparency and exchanging information on the supply of certain critical raw materials and other products,” according to an EU statement released after the meeting.

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The economic and trade talks came as the EU risks a recession due to the supply shortage of energy imports and other commodities. A summit between both trade partners last April marked a low point in bilateral relations as the bloc considers that Beijing is not pressuring Russia to end its invasion of Ukraine.

Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis and Mairead McGuinness, commissioner for financial services, also discussed with Vice Premier Liu He the EU’s concerns on the lack of a level playing field and the growing politicization of the business environment in the Asian economy.

On financial services, the EU statement said China pledged to ensure that future rules would not limit the operations of European leasing companies on its territory.

The meeting took place against the backdrop of an ongoing case at the World Trade Organization brought by Brussels against China for allegedly restricting the imports of Lithuanian products into its market.

Vilnius accuses Beijing of blocking its goods in reaction to the opening of a Taiwanese diplomatic representation in the Baltic state with the name “Taiwan” instead of the usual “Chinese Taipei.”

Relations between the EU and its largest trading partner reached a recent high point at the end of 2020 when the two sides signed a long-awaited investment treaty, but quickly deteriorated after the EU sanctioned Chinese officials over accusations of human rights abuse in Xinjiang.

China responded by placing sanctions on European lawmakers, academics and others, leading the bloc to freeze the investment deal.

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