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I have come across both phrases at the start of sentences, and both apparently have the same meaning. Is there any difference between the two? Can they be used interchangeably?

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    You may have noticed that the phrases differ in that the first uses "dabei". Did you check what this word means? Because this may answer your question. – RHa Nov 8 '18 at 10:21
  • »Dabei geht es um« = »Es geht dabei um« ≠ »Es geht um« (no »dabei« in the 3rd phrase) – Hubert Schölnast Nov 8 '18 at 17:04
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It means almost the same with the difference that the first version refers to something ("dabei") and the second version does not explicitly refer to something ("es" is more generic).

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In English it could be translated as "This is about..." and "It is about...", so it means basically the same, but with a slightly different construction.

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