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News article27 March 2019Service for Foreign Policy Instruments

2019 EU-China Legal Affairs Dialogue in Beijing, China


The 3rd EU-China Legal Affairs Dialogue took place in Beijing on 21-22 March 2019. Co-hosted by Ministry of Justice of China, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China, European Commission and European External Action Service, the meeting brought together senior officials from China and the European Union to discuss areas of future cooperation. The European Union delegation was jointly led by Ms Tiina Astola, Director General of Justice and Consumers at the European Commission and Mr Nicolas Chapius, Ambassador of the European Union to China. A number of top-experts from both China and the EU participated in the discussions.


Tiina Astola, Director-General of the European Commission's DG Justice and Consumers and the Chinese Vice Minister of Ministry of Justice, Mr. Zhao Dacheng, during the EU-China Legal Affairs Dialogue.

The dialogue allowed policy makers and academia to have in depth discussions on the following themes:

  1. The issue of artificial intelligence, and what the legislative and ethical challenges are behind this;

  2. The experiences with alternative dispute resolution mechanisms both in the EU and China;

  3. The state of play of the future Chinese Civil Code.

The 3rd EU-China Legal Affairs Dialogue strengthened the mutual understanding of the different legislative developments in China and the European Union and capitalised on the increased understanding of each other’s systems. It was agreed that work should continue over the next year in a series of areas, e.g. through work-shops on issues like:

  • Exchange of best practice and initiatives on the safety of connected products and those powered by Artificial Intelligence;

  • Exchange of best practice on providing high-quality consumer alternative dispute resolution, including in the digital area;

  • Exchange on the liability rules and their applicability to artificial intelligence and other new technologies;

  • Exchange on the challenges brought by artificial intelligence and other new technologies and possible approaches to address these challenges.

Both sides agreed that the next Legal Affairs Dialogue will be held in spring/summer 2020 in Brussels. It will consist of a high-level segment, followed by workshops on topics related to the overall theme of the dialogue. The Legal Affairs Dialogue will also help to create specialised EU-China networks to bring continuity to the exchanges.


The legal affairs dialogue is an important platform for EU-China cooperation. It provides an appropriate forum for the EU and China to better understand their respective legal systems and to deepen their partnership in a wide range of areas such as trade and investment, technology, agriculture, health and social issues, urbanisation, environment protection. It is funded under the EU's Partnership Instrument. The Partnership Instrument enables the EU to advance its strategic interests, shape global change and promote its fundamental values. Through the Partnership Instrument, the EU cooperates with partners around the world to address global challenges and find joint solutions to issues of mutual interest. The PI funds activities that carry forward the EU's priorities, translating political commitments into concrete measures.

At the 17th EU-China Summit in June 2015, Premier Li Keqiang and Presidents Juncker and Tusk agreed “that it is necessary to deepen understanding of each other’s legal systems, and establish an EU-China Legal Affairs Dialogue for policy exchanges, mutual learning and cooperation in legal affairs”. Accordingly, the first Legal Affairs Dialogue meeting was jointly launched on 20 June 2016 in Beijing by Minister Song Dahan, Minister of the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council and European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality Vĕra Jourová on the theme of e-commerce and consumer protection.

The second EU-China Legal Affairs Dialogue took place in Brussels on 16-17 October 2017 and focused on the European Better Regulation Agenda and discussed the importance of transparency, involvement of stakeholders, evidence-based policy-making and uniform implementation of laws; and the development of the Chinese Civil Code. In the Joint statement of the 20th EU-China Summit in July 2018, EU and China expressed satisfaction with the outcomes of the EU-China Legal Affairs Dialogue and its role as an important platform for promoting mutual understanding and mutually beneficial cooperation.

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Publication date
27 March 2019
Service for Foreign Policy Instruments