China has put pressure on the European Union to come up with a strong joint declaration against President Donald Trump trade policy for the Summit later this month. Beijing is still facing resistance, European officials say.

At their meetings in Brussels, Berlin and Beijing, high-ranking Chinese representatives, including Deputy Prime Minister Liu He and the First Diplomat of the Chinese Government, Wang Yi, proposed an alliance between the two economic forces and as a gesture of the Chinese government, to open up the Chinese market for European companies.

One of the proposals was China and the European Union to launch joint action against the United States in the World Trade Organisation.

But the European Union, which is the world’s biggest trading bloc, has rejected the idea of alliing with Beijing against Washington, five EU representatives and diplomats told Reuters. This is a day ahead of the Sino-European summit in Beijing on 16-17 July.

Instead, the meeting is expected to lead to a modest communiqué, which reaffirms the commitment of both sides to the multilateral trading system and pledges to set up a working group on the modernisation of the WTO, EU officials said.

Deputy Prime Minister Liu He said China is ready to set out for the first time what sectors can be opened to European investments at the annual summit that is expected to be hosted in the presence of President Xi Jinping,Prime Minister Li Keqiang and senior EU officials.

Chinese state media have encouraged the message that the European Union is on the same track as China, which, however, puts the bloc in a delicate position. The last two summits, in 2016 and 2017, completed without a statement due to disagreement on the South China Sea issue and the common trade.

“China wants the European Union to face Beijing against Washington. They want the EU to pick a side,” a European diplomat said. “We won’t do it and we told them that.”

Commenting on Wednesday, 4 July, the official Chinese news agency “Xinhua” said China and Europe “must oppose protectionism in trade together”.

“China and European countries are natural partners,” the agency says. “They firmly believe that free trade is a powerful driver for global economic growth.”