The fourth summit between the European Union and China was held in April 2019. The focus was on cooperation in the field of transport and connectivity.
Both parties agreed on the opportunity to continue working on the Connectivity Platform, launched in 2015, for developing joint projects, which ensures a continuous exchange of project designing, analysis of synergies and data between the two economic blocks.
Within this framework, the European Union and China have agreed to carry out a joint study, to be entrusted to a third party, on the opportunities for developing rail transport corridors at a global level between the Old Continent and the Asian giant, with the aim of identifying, in particular, the bottlenecks and the key current capacity constraints of the network.
In parallel, by the end of 2019, both the European and Chinese sides will identify a number of priority investment projects, also referring to the experience of TEN-T and Chinese infrastructure planning; in the broader framework of joint cooperation, exchanges of transport experts, technical seminars and exchanges of good practice in policy and planning are planned during 2019.
It is clear that the structure and results of the joint study will, in particular, have an impact on the planning of European and Chinese connectivity investments in the coming years. Indeed, among the various deliverables envisaged, the study will also have to focus on a selection of preferential transport corridors, to be submitted to the EU and the Chinese Government.
Economic relations between these two blocks are growing. In 2018 the EU imported 394.7 billion euros’ worth of goods from China and China imported 210 billion euros’ worth of goods from Europe. China is the second largest market for European goods, while it is the first supplier. Machinery and other manufacturing products drive both import and export statistics, with a high degree of complementarity and integration of the supply chains that will also drive the volumes transported in the future.