Both free trade and continued dialogue with China on human rights are important to the EU, Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu Marko Mihkelson (IRL) said on the eve of the committee's visit to China.
As the working visit is taking place immediately prior to the Estonian presidency of the Council of the EU this time, EU-China relations in a wider context, including extending potential spheres of cooperation, will certainly be a topic of discussion, Mihkelson said according to Riigikogu spokespeople.
According to Mihkelson, it is important that the EU and China reach the preconditions for initiating free trade negotiations. "At the same time, it is essential that the human rights dialogue between the EU and China continue," he added.
"Bearing in mind the rapid increase in China's clout and the long-term foreign policy and trade interests of China, we must consistently strive for closer bilateral relations," said the Estonian MP.
China is uncontestedly one of the major trade partners for Estonia in Asia, he noted, adding that one of the aims of the visit is to give political support to Estonian businesses on this market of great export potential.
Estonia currently exports primarily electrical and mechanical equipment, timber and wood products to China, although it is expected that the Chinese market will open itself up further to the Estonian food industry in the near future.
Members of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Riigikogu will be on a working visit to China through Thursday, the purpose of which is to develop bilateral relations and exchange ideas about key issues in the global economy and international security.
The Estonian delegation consists of Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee Marko Mihkelson (IRL), deputy committee chairman Keit Pentus-Rosimannus (Reform) and committee members Marko Sorin (Center) and Henn Põlluaas (EKRE).
Editor: Aili Vahtla