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May 22, 2019

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China, EU reach civil aviation pact

CHINA and the European Union have signed two agreements on civil aviation cooperation in Brussels.

The milestone deal meets a longtime aspiration of both sides to expand practical cooperation in this sector. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the agreements was “a first big step,” “will create jobs, boost growth and bring our continents and peoples closer together.”

The move, which came amid uncertainties worldwide furthered by US unilateralism and trade protectionism, reaffirms the EU commitment to safeguarding openness, free trade and multilateralism while enriching the content of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. “In an increasingly unsettled world, Europe’s partnership with China is more important than ever before,” Juncker noted.

The deal is the first of its kind ever reached in the 20 years of cooperation in the civil aviation sector between China and Europe. The bilateral agreement on civil aviation safety provides a legal framework for expanding cooperation in multiple aspects such as environmental compatibility, and the design and manufacturing of aeronautical products. It will help promote policy coordination and technological and people-to-people exchanges.

The agreements, a result of many rounds of consultations since August 2013, are also expected to facilitate the trade of aircraft and related products. Among the measures is removing unnecessary procedural duplications in the evaluation and certification of aeronautical products to reduce cost.

“We believe the newly signed accord will help establish more efficient, streamlined and standardized aircraft certification procedures and we look forward to the promulgation and implementation of the detailed regulations,” said George Xu, CEO of Airbus China.

Moreover, the agreement serves as part of the joint efforts by China and the EU towards a higher level of civil aviation safety, especially after the crashes and the recent exposure of safety hazards of the US Boeing 737 airliners.

“Today’s agreements will boost the EU’s trade in aircraft and related products, and ensure the highest levels of air safety,” commented Violeta Bulc, the EU commissioner for transport.

The agreements allow all EU airlines to fly to China from any member state with a bilateral air services agreement.


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