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The president of the CIS is meeting today with Xi Jinping to determine Europe-China relations in the future

The president of the CIS is meeting today with Xi Jinping to determine

Europe is becoming increasingly dependent on China for trade, and many of its leading companies are eager to invest in the world's second-largest economy, despite the disruption caused by Covid-19 lockdowns.

But a deteriorating relationship with an increasingly unpredictable Beijing and rising geopolitical tension has some EU officials considering whether the bloc should begin to scale back or expand cooperation with China.

These "calculations" will be made by the president of the EU Council, Charles Michel, during today's visit to Beijing, where he will meet the Chinese leader Xi Jinping.

A lot has happened since the last time an EU president, appointed by the leaders of the EU's 27 member states, met Xi in person four years ago.

The Covid-19 pandemic, Russia's invasion of Ukraine and sanctions between China and EU lawmakers have strained relations since then. The United States, which imposed controls on semiconductor exports to China in October, is said to be pressuring Europe to adopt a similarly tough line.

Michel's spokesman, Barend Leyts, said in a statement last week that Michel's visit provides a "timely opportunity" for Europe and China to engage on issues of "common interest". He did not specify what topics will be discussed.

But some within Europe are growing wary of close ties with China. The bloc has been badly burned this year by its historic reliance on Russia as its main energy supplier, and diversification has risen up the political agenda.

Both parties have invested heavily in their partnership. The total value of goods trade between China and Europe reached 696 billion euros ($732 billion) last year, up nearly a quarter from 2019.

China was the third largest destination for EU merchandise exports, accounting for 10% of the total, according to Eurostat data. China is the largest source of imports in Europe, accounting for 22% in 2021.

Economic ties between Brussels and Beijing, though mutually beneficial, have frayed in other ways in recent years.

Last year, Chinese direct investment in the European Union fell to the second lowest level since 2013, only behind 2020, according to analysis by the Rhodium Group, a research firm. It has fallen almost 78% since 2016.

Source: CNN

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