China's foreign minister said Monday that he was confident of a investment deal being clinched with the European Union, while pressing for talks "as soon as possible" on a free trade accord.
In an interview with AFP in Paris, Wang Yi said the list of sectors China still refuses access to is shrinking, and the country is opening up more and more, thus "creating favourable conditions for the conclusion of a bilateral investment accord."
"We are very confident about the conclusion of this agreement," with Europe, said Wang, adding negotiations were "progressing well".
"During this year's (EU-China) summit, leaders on both sides agreed that the negotiations will lead to decisive progress by the end of the year, allowing a high-quality agreement to be concluded in 2020," he said.
Wang underscored China's willingness to "launch discussions on a free trade agreement between China and the EU," calling for a feasibility study in the short term and emphasising that "China and the European Union are one another's biggest economic and commercial partners."
China is engaged in a long-running tariff war with US President Donald Trump, which has started to take a toll on its economic growth.
Wang said "a big number" of contracts, "between 30 and 40", would be signed between China and France when President Emmanuel Macron visits from November 4 to 6.
The two countries, permanent members of the UN Security Council, "must work together to convey a joint message of support for multilateralism and a message of support for the authority of the UN in the face of rising unilateralism," Wang added.
"We must also send a message that our two countries respect the fundamental rules governing international relations and together defend justice and equity in the world."