EU, China sign agreements on environment, trade

Nanjing (China), Nov 30 (DPA) Chinese and European Union leaders signed five agreements on trade and environmental technology on Monday as they held a summit focussing on global economic issues and climate change.

The one-day summit was co-chaired by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, European Commission President Barroso and Swedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, whose country holds the rotating presidency of the 27-member bloc.

Wen, Barroso and Reinfeldt attended the signing of the five bilateral agreements covering technological cooperation, near-zero emission coal utilisation, energy efficiency and building quality, the sustainable development of China’s trade and investment, and environmental management.

Following bilateral talks with Barroso on Sunday, Wen said he hoped for “substantial results” from Monday’s summit to reflect the “China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership”.

But EU leaders failed to win a commitment from China for an “orderly and gradual appreciation” of its national currency, the yuan.

Talks between a trio of EU financial leaders and their Chinese counterparts on Sunday ended without agreement on the issue.

“China hopes all major reserve currencies will maintain stability,” state media quoted Wen as saying on Sunday.

“The stability of Chinese currency is an important contribution to world financial stability,” he said.

European Central Bank president Jean-Claude Trichet, who took part in the talks, said a realignment of the yuan would help eliminate global economic imbalances and benefit the Chinese economy.

Europe believes the Chinese currency is overvalued, which makes EU exports to China more expensive and keeps the price of Chinese goods sold in Europe artificially low.

China has more or less pegged its currency to the US dollar since the middle of 2008, but the euro has increased in value against the yuan around 20 percent since the beginning of 2009.