This week the EU and China held the 25th round of negotiations for the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment. This round saw the second exchange of market access offers on both sides. The Commission will analyse the Chinese offer carefully to assess its level of ambition and the extent to which it reflects the EU specific requests.
The European Union and China are two of the biggest traders in the world. China is the EU’s second-biggest trading partner behind the United States and the EU is China’s biggest trading and a key investment partner.
The EU had made specific requests to China for a meaningful offer to rebalance the current disparity in China’s level of market openness compared to the EU. In particular, the EU seeks an opening of key sectors, such as telecommunications, information and communication technology, health, financial services, and manufacturing.
For the EU, the agreement should not only create new investment opportunities but also improve the business environment for EU companies once they are operating on the Chinese market. Therefore, the EU also expects China to take commitments to ensure that European companies can compete in China on a level playing field. This includes avoiding forced technology transfers, removing discriminatory authorisation procedures, ensuring that state owned enterprises compete on equal terms and act on the basis of commercial considerations and improving the transparency as regards the subsidies to the Chinese companies.
The EU also wants to see a firm commitment by China on sustainable development, in particular the protection of the climate and the environment as well as labour rights.
The EU and China will continue working intensively in 2020, with the next round scheduled in Brussels in the second half of January 2020.