The plenary discussed with the Commission and the Council the outcome of the EU-China summit. EU and Chinese leaders met via video conference on 1 April 2022 to discuss the Russian aggression against Ukraine as well as the state of bilateral relations and areas of shared interest such as climate change, biodiversity and health, as well as ways to ensure a more balanced and reciprocal trade relationship. 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. In recent months mutual relations were marked by disputes over sanctions.
The EU and China are two of the biggest traders in the world, with China being the EU's second trading partner. But in recent years the balance of challenges and opportunities in the bilateral relationship has shifted on issues such as market access obstacles and unfair trade practices.
The EU-China Human Rights Dialogue was launched in 1995. Parliament strongly condemns the Chinese government-led system of forced labour – in particular the exploitation of Uyghur, ethnic Kazakh and Kyrgyz, and other Muslim minority groups – in factories within and outside internment camps in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region.
The Chinese sanctions imposed in March on several European entities and political representatives, including five Members of the European Parliament and the Subcommittee on Human Rights, were a retaliatory act in response to the EU decision to enact restrictive measures against four Chinese officials over human rights abuses against the Muslim Uyghur minority in the Xinjiang region.
The EP responded with a resolution emphasising that any consideration of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), as well as discussion on its mandatory ratification by MEPs, have “justifiably been frozen” because of the Chinese sanctions.