China and the European Union have committed to achieving major progress this year in negotiations for a high-level bilateral in

vestment agreement with a view to concluding the ambitious accord next year, according to a joint statement.

The two sides pledged to widen market access, eliminate discriminatory requireme

nts for foreign investors and establish a balanced investment protection framework, according to a joint statem

ent issued after the China-EU leaders’ meeting held in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday.

Premier Li Keqiang, European Council President Donald Tusk and Eur

opean Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker co-chaired the annual meeting and reach

ed consensus on a wide range of issues, including bilateral ties, global challenges and governance.

They committed to building an economic relationship based on openness, nondiscrim

ination and fair competition, ensuring a level playing field, transparency and mutual benefit, the statement added.

Two-way trade between the EU and China reached more than $682 billion last year. The E

U is China’s biggest trading partner, and China is the EU’s second-largest trading partner.

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