The European Union and the Chinese Government hold their fourth High Level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED) in Brussels Thursday. The Dialogue covers macro-economic challenges facing the international economy, future sources of growth, industrial policy questions as well as trade and investment issues, and customs cooperation.
EU Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs Olli Rehn, said in press statements that "The EU and China together represent around a third of global GDP and both economies are in the process of important structural reforms." On his part, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said "Trade ties are at the heart of our bilateral relationship. But as the interdependence of our two economies increases, tensions can arise. This meeting will be an important opportunity to discuss how to work better together." The meeting is co-chaired by Rehn and De Gucht and from the Chinese side by Vice-Premier Ma Kai. A further seven Chinese Ministers and Vice-Ministers participate in the dialogue. China's bilateral trade in goods with the EU has gone from four billion euro in 1978 to 432 billion euro in 2012. That means that the EU and China trade is well over one billion euro a day. In 2012, EU exports to China increased by 5.6% to reach a record 143.9 billion euro, and they have more than doubled in the past five years. The EU is also China's main export destination, with 289.7 billion euro in goods in 2012. EU companies invested 9.9 billion euro in China in 2012, with Chinese Foreign Direct Investment in the EU amounting to 3.5 billion euro