China and the European Union, two of the primary targets of U.S. tariffs, hold talks in Beijing on Monday with global trade and a bilateral investment agreement high on the agenda.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will meet with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker at the 20th China-EU Summit.
The meeting takes place shortly after both the EU and China were labeled "foes" on trade by US President Donald Trump in a Sunday interview with CBS.
Tusk offered a caustic response, tweeting: "America and the EU are best friends. Whoever says we are foes is spreading fake news."
'Standard of stability'
Zhang Ming, Chinese ambassador to the EU, wrote in a People's Daily article on Sunday that the focus of the meeting would be how China-EU relations could become a "standard of stability" amid the "din of unilateralism and protectionism."
EU Ambassador to China Hans Dietmar Schweisgut told Global Times that the summit "will be an opportunity to show that our cooperation is important not only for Europe and China, but also for the rest of the world."
"We must support and strengthen the open, rules-based system of global governance, which is the basis for economic prosperity and sustainable globalization, and advance on issues like climate change, foreign policy and Eurasian connectivity," he added.
The two sides are expected to declare support for multilateralism and the World Trade Organization. Zhang indicated mutual support for reform of the WTO was also on the agenda.
"It is also crucial to keep the multilateral trading system abreast with the times through reform, and improve the global economic governance system," the Chinese ambassador wrote.
Bilateral investment deal
The meeting is also an opportunity to continue talks on the long-discussed Bilateral Investment Treaty, following on from a pledge to accelerate negotiations made at the recent Seventh EU-China High-Level Economic Trade Dialogue.
Zhang said he expected negotiations to advance, and Schweisgut wrote on Sunday that he expects the sides to exchange market access offers for a BIT.
"It should lead to an ambitious and comprehensive agreement of opening more sectors and providing investment protection above and beyond the standards already set out in the 27 existing bilateral agreements between China and EU countries," Schweisgut added.
The Belt and Road Initiative is also expected to feature prominently, with synergies sought via the EU-China Connectivity Platform. Also on the agenda is climate change, the Iran nuclear deal, the Korean Peninsula, cooperation in Africa, counterterrorism and cybersecurity.
"China and the EU do not see eye-to-eye on every issue," Zhang wrote. "Yet, the two sides could expand common ground and manage differences through candid discussions."