Strasbourg (France) (AFP) - Investment flows between the EU and China, major trade partners, are far below what they should be and must be improved, EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht said Tuesday.
The level of investment "is still far below what one would expect from two important economic blocs," De Gucht told the European Parliament.
While investment is increasing, it remains very low, with China accounting for just 2.1 percent of all European Union overseas commitments, he said.
"Promoting bilateral investment should be our joint economic objective for the years ahead," he said, citing the need for an EU-China Investment Agreement.
He said such an accord would not only create "a level playing field on investment protection but above all (generate) ... further investment liberalisation."
He said talks in June with his Chinese counterpart produced assurances that talks would "cover all issues," helping promote the overall EU-China relationship.
Bilateral trade last year was worth nearly $550 billion (415 billion euros), with China enjoying a significant surplus, but the two sides have also been embroiled in a series of disputes over subsidies and dumping.However, the EU managed to settle a fractious stand-off with China over its exports of solar panels in July which De Gucht hailed as an "amicable solution" which would help resolve other differences.