Welcome from the Chair

Welcome to the site of the European Parliament's Delegation for Relations with the People's Republic of China (D-CN). The delegation has 37 full members and an equal number of substitutes. It is one of the Parliament's largest delegations reflecting the fact that the EU's relationship with China is one of our most significant political and economic relationships.

The EU and China established diplomatic relations in 1975. Today, there are more than 60 sectoral dialogues between the EU and China. Main issues for the bilateral cooperation were agreed in the EU-China Strategic Agenda for Cooperation 2020. There are annual Summits between the two as well as regular inter-parliamentary meetings. The EU-China Human Rights Dialogue was launched in 1995.

The most recent China Strategy of the EU defines China as a partner, a competitor and a systemic rival. It is a firm goal of all European institutions to seek cooperation with China where-ever we can create the right conditions for that. Obvious opportunities for shared interests exist for example in the fight against climate change, for green economies and livable cities, for environmental protection and biodiversity. Similarly we are both interested in a stable global economy. And Europe will also seek strong cooperation on the Sustainable Development Goals. Bilateral issues such as fair and free trade, mutually beneficial investment, exchanges between civil society actors, science cooperation or discussions about human rights concerns are also part of the relationship.

Obviously, the economic relations between China and the EU carry particular weight. China's exports to the EU amount to a value of 400 billion Euros a year, while the EU exports a little more than half that volume to China. Trade imbalances, unsatisfactory market access regulations and requirements to foreign investors in China that defy the principle of reciprocity have put high pressure on concluding a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), for which negotiations have been ongoing since 2013.

During the new term the Delegation will make a strong contribution to promote the parliamentary dimension of the relations and in doing so will cooperate closely with other bodies in the European Parliament, in particular the parliamentary committees. The delegation will also have exchanges and cooperation with the European Commission and its services, with the European External Action Service, the EU Delegation in Beijing and the EU Office in Hong Kong.

As the China Delegation Chair I am looking forward to engaging the Delegation closely with our Chinese counterparts. I intend to keep working on developing the interparliamentary relations and while doing so contributing to the further deepening of the bilateral EU-China relations.

Reinhard Bütikofer