British Prime Minister Tony Blair arrived in Beijing on Monday at the start of a four-day Asian trip meant to boost Europe's business and trade ties with China and India.
Blair also planned to discuss the fight against global warming and efforts to promote cultural and educational links.
Blair, whose government holds the rotating European Union presidency, was to lead talks between the bloc and China on Monday and also conduct British meetings with Chinese President Hu Jintao and other leaders.
Blair arrived in Beijing amid a spat that has held up about 75 million Chinese-made garments at European ports. But with the Chinese and Indian economies booming, there is a strong incentive to reach agreement since the potential rewards for all sides are huge.
EU trade chief Peter Mandelson has urged European governments to release the merchandise.
They were held up because Chinese goods had used up a quota for 2005 that was negotiated by the two governments in June. Mandelson says most were ordered before that agreement.
Blair also was to attend the signing ceremony for a Chinese airline's purchase of jets from the European aviation consortium Airbus.
The EU and China also are to make an announcement on global warming, including plans to work together developing clean energy sources for China, which needs huge amounts of oil to fuel its economic growth, said a spokesman for Blair. He declined to be identified further in line with government policy.
Blair made tackling climate change a priority at the G-8 summit of rich nations in July. The group said it would engage China, India and other developing economies in efforts to slow emissions of the pollutants blamed for rising temperatures.