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Europeans Snub Trade Text at China's Silk Road Summit

Several European countries are refusing to sign a trade statement at China's Silk Road summit, a diplomat said on Monday, dealing a setback to Beijing's efforts to gain full support for its initiative.

PTI

Updated:May 15, 2017, 6:29 PM IST
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Europeans Snub Trade Text at China's Silk Road Summit
In this file photo, a map illustrating China's silk road economic belt and the 21st century maritime silk road, or the so-called "One Belt, One Road" megaproject, is displayed at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong, China. (Photo: Reuters/Bobby Yip)
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Beijing: Several European countries are refusing to sign a trade statement at China's Silk Road summit, a diplomat said on Monday, dealing a setback to Beijing's
efforts to gain full support for its initiative.

France, Germany, Estonia, Greece, Portugal and Britain are among the European Union countries spurning the document, the diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Nearly 30 world leaders are taking part in the global summit on China's Silk Road plan, a huge infrastructure project which Beijing hopes will revive ancient trade routes from Asia to Europe and Africa.

ALSO READ: China Pledges $124 Billion for New Silk Road, Says Open to Everyone

The forum was to culminate today evening in a final communique from heads of state, with statements on topics spanning finance and relations between peoples.

The diplomat said all the European nations taking part in the summit's trade panel collectively decided to rebuff the text because they believe it does not sufficiently address European concerns surrounding transparency of public procurement and social and environmental standards.

ALSO READ: India Stays Away as Sharif Cozies up to China at Belt and Road Summit

China only presented the document to negotiators last week, telling them it could no longer be reworked, according to the official.

Beijing is seeking to cement its trade relations in Asia, Africa, and Europe through the summit, but some fear that these new Silk Roads serve the interests of Chinese exporters above all.

"It's very important for us and our companies that the calls for our projects under the Belt and Road initiative are transparent, that they are non-discriminatory, and that they comply with international standards," German Economic Minister Brigitte Zypries said at the trade panel Sunday.

"I think there is still room for improvement in this area."

ALSO READ: Nepal Formally Joins China's Silk Road Plan Opposed by India

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