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By David Thomas
     BRUSSELS (MNI) - EU and Chinese negotiators have made sufficient progress
on topics including forced technology transfer, protection of foreign
investment, market access and reform of WTO rules on industrial tariffs to be
able to issue a substantial joint statement following today's summit meeting in
Brussels, EU officials told MNI.
     Unity between EU member states and a statement from EU President Donald
Tusk indicating the European side would not sign off on a statement without
Chinese commitments on sensitive issues like forced technology transfer - a
subject Beijing has until now avoided in EU talks -- and industrial tariffs
helped shift the ground.
     "The Chinese position evolved quite a lot over the weekend," one official
said.
     The statement will also include a commitment by China to remove market
access barriers and a "clear timeline" towards an Investment Agreement by 2020.
     "At the end we have achieved substantial progress compared with last year's
summit statement," the official said.
     "It shows what Europe can achieve when it speaks with one voice."
     European officials' sense of urgency was heightened by fears a deal between
the U.S. and China might leave the EU at a disadvantage, and that the bloc could
not rely on multilateral mechanisms to obtain the same benefits as Washington.
     "The shadow of the U.S.-China negotiation certainly sharpened our position
versus China," the official said.
--MNI London Bureau; +44 203 865 3829; email: jason.webb@marketnews.com
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