Europe

EU calls for fairer economic relationship with China

  • European Union's Ambassador to China Hans Dietmar Schweisgut speaks during a press conference held before an event to mark Europe Day in Beijing, China, Monday, May 9, 2016. Schweisgut said Monday that the bloc wants a more level playing field in its trade relations with China while adding that Beijing’s measures to address overcapacity in its steel industry were not going far enough. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    European Union's Ambassador to China Hans Dietmar Schweisgut speaks during a press conference held before an event to mark Europe Day in Beijing, China, Monday, May 9, 2016. Schweisgut said Monday that the bloc wants a more level playing field in its trade relations with China while adding that Beijing’s measures to address overcapacity in its steel industry were not going far enough. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

  • European Union's Ambassador to China Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, second left, walks to an event to mark Europe Day in Beijing, China, Monday, May 9, 2016. Schweisgut said Monday that the bloc wants a more level playing field in its trade relations with China while adding that Beijing’s measures to address overcapacity in its steel industry were not going far enough. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    European Union's Ambassador to China Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, second left, walks to an event to mark Europe Day in Beijing, China, Monday, May 9, 2016. Schweisgut said Monday that the bloc wants a more level playing field in its trade relations with China while adding that Beijing’s measures to address overcapacity in its steel industry were not going far enough. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

  • Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, EU ambassador to China, toasts after delivering the opening speech at an event to mark Europe Day in Beijing, China, Monday, May 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

    Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, EU ambassador to China, toasts after delivering the opening speech at an event to mark Europe Day in Beijing, China, Monday, May 9, 2016. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)  (The Associated Press)

The European Union's ambassador to China says the group wants a more level playing field in its trade and economic relations with Beijing.

Hans Dietmar Schweisgut told reporters Monday that European companies had been willing in past decades to put up with restrictions on business in China, but the EU now wants a relationship that is much more based on "fair exchange."

He said questions about the relationship have become more urgent, including why it is possible for Chinese institutions to buy European banks but impossible for European banks to buy Chinese ones.

Schweisgut also said that China must urgently address overcapacity in certain industries and the "market distortions" it is causing. European steelmakers accuse China of exporting steel at unfairly low prices.