During the 20th Summit between the European Union and China, on 16 July, the two parties signed an ocean partnership agreement. EU an China will cooperate to improve international governance of the oceans in all its aspects, including by combating illegal fishing and promoting a sustainable blue economy.
In addition, the agreement contains commitments by the two parties to protect the marine environment, tackle climate change and implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in particular the Sustainable Development Goal 14 on oceans.
Under this, the European Union and China have committed to step up their cooperation towards low greenhouse gas emission economies and the implementation of the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change.
EU Commissioner Karmenu Vella, responsible for the environment, maritime affairs and fisheries, stated that today's collaboration will promote "a more sustainable future for our oceans and the millions that make their living from them."
The partnership will also establish general lines for future collaboration in areas such as:
- conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in the high seas;
- fight against marine pollution including marine plastic litter and micro-plastics;
- mitigation of and adaption to climate change impacts on oceans, including the Arctic Ocean;
- conservation of Antarctic marine living resources;
- fisheries governance in regional and global fora and the prevention of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
Moreover, EU and China agreed to develop a sustainable blue economy by adapting closer business-to-business interaction and exchanges of information between stakeholders.
The agreement also considers cooperation to address global and regional challenges such as climate change, common security threats, the promotion of multilateralism, and the promotion of open and fair trade.
In particular, the EU and China confirmed their support to the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system with the WTO as its core and committed to complying with existing WTO rules. They also committed to cooperate on the reform of the WTO to help it meet new challenges.
President Jean-Claude Juncker mentioned:
"I am more convinced than ever that, in the era of globalisation and of interdependence, multilateralism must be at the heart of what we do. We expect all our partners to respect international rules and commitments that they have taken, notably within the framework of the World Trade Organisation."
Progress was also made on the ongoing Investment Agreement negotiations, which is a key project to establish and maintain an open and transparent business environment for European and Chinese investors. The EU and China exchanged market access offers, moving the negotiations into a new phase, in which work can be accelerated on key aspects of the negotiations.