Doing business in China remains hard for many European companies and most are still being treated unfairly, a lobby group said yesterday, undermining Beijing's claims that it welcomes foreign investment.
Angela Merkel expressed appreciation for China's support for the European integration, and wished for a fruitful meeting between Li and the EU leaders.
The joint statement, the first between the China and the European Union, is believed to commit to cutting back on fossil fuels, developing more green technology and helping raise US$100 billion (S$138 billion) a year by 2020 to help poorer countries cut emissions.
"Please don't change the (political) climate for the worse", European Council President Donald Tusk tweeted.
Without mentioning the USA specifically, he said China has been "actively promoting the Paris agreement and we were one of the first countries to ratify the Paris agreement".
She said her country will implement the "Industrial 4.0" strategy's combination with China's "Made In China 2025" blueprint, and expand cooperation with China under the framework of the G20.
Asked what kind of exchanges Beijing's leaders have had with Trump regarding his decision, Hua said China and the United States "have maintained close communications at various levels" on subjects including climate change.
The two sides also "recognize the importance of developing global free trade and investment", the draft said. They promise to "address steel overcapacity at its roots". "Meanwhile, Chinese businesses in Europe face few, if any, obstacles to expansion".
"EU leaders need to make good on their pledges and make human rights and the freeing of peaceful activists a top strategic priority in the EU's relationship with China", said Human Rights Watch's European Union director Lotte Leicht. The warmer EU-China relationship, partly spurred by Trump, is despite a long-running spat with Beijing on what Europe sees as China's dumping of low-priced goods on European markets.
China, the EU's second-largest trade partner, "needs to walk the talk", said EU Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem at a business conference last week. He said that even though "it looks like that attempt failed". the "law is the law". China's claims in the South China Sea, through which about $5 trillion in ship-borne trade passes each year, are contested by Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam.
But European officials insisted that the deal would remain on track.