German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President, Xi Jinping, were expected to begin talks as part of high-level talks between Beijing and the European Union that should reinvigorate stalled talks on an investment agreement.
According to a high-ranking EU official, the EU wants to agree on a plan to wrap up the deal, with the goal being to conclude negotiations by the end of the year.
It would be recalled that the European Commission had been negotiating with China on an investment agreement for more than six years.
It is believed that the negotiations could not be consummated due to Brussels’ demand for further concessions from Beijing on market access and assurances for EU companies.
From the EU side, Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen and European Council member, Charles Michel, are to participate in today’s video meeting, with an agenda covering climate change, economic and trade issues, and international affairs.
Merkel is taking part representing Germany, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency.
In recent months, the Chancellor has faced calls at home to take a tougher line on China when it comes to addressing human rights issues and on implementing environmental commitments.
Beijing and Brussels are also not agreeing on some other issues but they are both mutually important to one another in commerce.
For instance, the EU expressed opposition to the Hong Kong national security law, passed by Chinese lawmakers in June and laying down harsh new penalties for crimes including subversion, secessionism and foreign collusion there.