After a disappointing performance in 2018, China’s economy appears to be stabiliz
ing. In the first quarter of 2019, GDP growth, at 6.4 percent year-on-year, matched that of the previous quarter. But grow
th in industrial production exceeded expectations, expanding by 6.5 percent year-on-year (and by 8.5 percent in Mar
ch). Even exports growth was positive, albeit weak, despite the ongoing trade frictions with the United States.
Moreover, fixed-asset investment (FAI) grew by 6.3 percent－0.2 percentage points higher than in the previous quar
ter. Investment in real estate grew the fastest (11.8 percent), followed by manufacturing (4.6 percent) and in
frastructure (4.4 percent). The growth of investment both in real estate and infrastru
cture was stronger not only sequentially, but also year-on-year. As usual, consumption growth was stable.
China and the European Union have committed to achieving major progress this year in negotiations for a high-level bilateral in
vestment agreement with a view to concluding the ambitious accord next year, according to a joint statement.
The two sides pledged to widen market access, eliminate discriminatory requireme
nts for foreign investors and establish a balanced investment protection framework, according to a joint statem
ent issued after the China-EU leaders’ meeting held in Brussels, Belgium, on Tuesday.
Premier Li Keqiang, European Council President Donald Tusk and Eur
opean Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker co-chaired the annual meeting and reach
ed consensus on a wide range of issues, including bilateral ties, global challenges and governance.
They committed to building an economic relationship based on openness, nondiscrim
ination and fair competition, ensuring a level playing field, transparency and mutual benefit, the statement added.
Two-way trade between the EU and China reached more than $682 billion last year. The E
U is China’s biggest trading partner, and China is the EU’s second-largest trading partner.