EU-China policy dialogues

China constitutes an important partner for Europe in facing its future development challenges. China provides a highly developed ICT research environment and offers significant opportunities for cooperation in various fields. Already today China is facing some of these challenges, which Europe will face only in coming years and/or decades. China is a research and technology leader in various fields, ranging from materials‐science, to biotechnology, energy, and information security. In China ICT is used to tackle different social and environmental problems, such as demographic change, rapidly increased urbanization, and greenhouse‐gas emissions control.

Europe has the opportunity to learn from China’s efforts in ICT research to prepare for its future challenges. Through ICT collaboration, Europe will be able to support the sustainable development of its regions and ensure the economic and social safety and security of its citizens. In exchange, Chinese ICT research can benefit from integration into the European research environment. Scientists from both sides will be able to easily research pressing issues for mutual benefit.

The European Commission Directorate General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology (DG CONNECT) is presently involved in two on-going dialogues with China:

Dialogue on ICT Research with MoST

The Dialogue on ICT Research with the Ministry of Science and Technology (MoST) was established in 1997. The dialogue is being backed up with a considerable number of technical assistance activities under the development cooperation programme (China-EU Information Society project, EU-China Trade Project) and has developed links to the Regulatory and Industrial Policy Dialogue (e.g. for telecom equipment certification issues) and the Intellectual Property Dialogue (for IP issues regarding telecom equipment). The second dialogue took place in Brussels, Belgium in March 2011. This dialogue focused, in particular, on the reciprocity between China’s access to EU’s FP R&D programmes and EU’s access to China’s 863 and 973 R&D programmes. During this dialogue, the main ICT areas of common interest for EU-China cooperation were discussed.

Dialogue on Information Technology, Telecommunications and Informatisation with MIIT

The Dialogue on Information Technology, Telecommunications and Informatisation with the Chinese Ministry for Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) was established in 2009 and is focused on the Internet of Things, Ipv6 electronic communications, green smart cities, and Internet security. The third dialogue took place in Chengdu, China in November 2011. The main outcomes of this dialogue were a common agreement to continue developing the existing EU-China collaboration in particular technological areas notably Internet of Things and a joint commitment to more rapidly adopt Ipv6 and to continue exchanging experiences on developing a regulatory system for electronic communications and exchanges on Internet security.

Apart from these dialogues, the European Commission is currently working on the policy framework succeeding the i2010 programme, and the Chinese government is currently conducting its research and internal consultations on the Information Society‐related elements of the forthcoming 12th Five‐Year Plan (2011‐ 2015), which will guide the Chinese industrial and social policies over the next years. The EU‐China Expert Group that the European Commission and Chinese Ministries (MIIT/MoST) have recently created aims to provide inputs to their ongoing dialogue for promoting cooperation in ICT between China and Europe.

In this way, international cooperation between the two regions will serve the interests of both sides, while supporting Europe as a place for excellence in international research.

The project took a series of pragmatic and incremental actions to enhance direct dialogues among stakeholders including policy makers and researchers from both the EU and China.