German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday as part of high-level talks between Beijing and the European Union that should reinvigorate stalled talks on an investment pact.
The EU wants to agree on a plan to wrap up the deal, according to a high-ranking EU official, with the goal being to conclude negotiations by the end of the year.
The European Commission has been negotiating with China on an investment agreement for more than six years. But Brussels wants further concessions from Beijing on market access and assurances for EU companies.
From the EU side, Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and European Council Charles Michel are to participate in the video meeting, with an agenda covering climate change, economic and trade issues, and international affairs.
Merkel is taking part representing Germany, which currently holds the rotating EU presidency. She has faced calls at home to take a tougher line on China when it comes to addressing human rights issues and on implementing environmental commitments.
Beijing and Brussels are at odds on a host of issues but are also mutually important to one another in commerce. For example, the EU sharply criticized the Hong Kong national security law, passed by Chinese lawmakers in June and laying down harsh new penalties for crimes including subversion, secessionism and foreign collusion there.