The Financial Times reports that a top EU official has voiced frustration over China's trade policies ahead of a summit this week as Brussels struggles to get Beijing to deliver on commitments to open up its market to European investments. In an interview with the Financial Times ahead of a meeting between EU and Chinese leaders on Tuesday, EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstrom said the bloc would not follow the US route of using punitive tariffs to try to force China to the negotiating table. European steelmakers are among those to have been hit by additional duties imposed by US president Donald Trump since he took office, and Brussels has attacked the measures as a breach of World Trade Organization rules. But Ms Malmstrom stressed that Europe shared US exasperation about China's model of "massively" subsidised state-owned enterprises that expand abroad through acquisitions. A five-year long effort to negotiate an EU-China investment treaty is "not moving as fast as it should", Ms Malmstrom said. "It's been going for a long time now and we'd hoped that China would be a little more open to do this. We have exchanged offers, that is a step forward, but they are very modest."
Reuters reports that China wants to work with the European Union on issues from climate change to trade, Premier Li Keqiang wrote in a German newspaper before a summit next week aimed at cementing ties. Diplomats in Brussels have said that tensions over trade, investments and minority rights mean China and the EU may fail to agree a joint declaration at the April 9 summit. That could dent European efforts to gain greater access to Chinese markets. In a column for Monday's edition of Handelsblatt, extracts of which were released on Sunday, the Chinese Premier denied accusations Beijing was trying to split the bloc by investing in eastern European states. "We emphatically support the European integration process in the hope of a united and prosperous Europe," wrote Li. He said Beijing's close cooperation with eastern European states was "advantageous for a balanced development within the EU". Concerned by potential Chinese dominance of strategic European industries, the EU is trying to coax Beijing to open up its markets and has tried to get it to commit to removing what Brussels sees as unfair barriers to trade.