In the last decade, while undergoing its own reform through the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 which created a designated foreign affairs body across the 28 member states, the European External Action Service (EEAS), the European Commission has also produced two major communications on relations with the People’s Republic of China. The first, in 2006, was issued at a time when the European Union (EU) was just recovering from its failure to lift the arms embargo on China, and was being criticised by Beijing because it had not accorded market economy status to a country that had become its largest trading partner. The second came out in 2016, at a time when the relationship had settled into a more pragmatic mould, though the continuing refusal to grant market economy status still rankled with the Chinese partners.
At time of publication of this article, the journal operated under the old name. When quoting please refer to the citation on the left using British Journal of Chinese Studies. The pdf of the article still reflects the old journal name; issue number and page range are consistent.