Since 2012, China has been trying to get the European Union to agree to initiate bilateral free trade agreement talks. China is absent from both the transpacific (TPP) and the transatlantic (TTIP) trade deals and wants "in" on a similarly large pact itself in order to avoid losing out on trade flows or to have to follow new "global" standards set by others. European firms, for their part, want greater openings into China and a more even playing field with domestic companies, especially State-owned enterprises.
In March 2014, Brussels agreed that once an EU-China investment treaty is concluded it will consider broader trade talks with Beijing. The investment treaty negotiations began just a few months prior, in November 2013. Once finalised, this BIT willl replace the 26 existing BITs that China has signed over the years with individual EU member states.
The EU is China’s largest trading partner, while China is the EU’s second export market.
Photo: European External Action Service - EEAS / CC BY-NC 2.0
The situation is less dramatic than people seem to think. The EU is still working very closely with China’s Ministry of Commerce, the bloc’s ambassador in Beijing said.
A long-negotiated investment agreement between EU and China was more of an "intention than a deal and it could be a long time before it became a reality, an EU commissioner said.
Trade and investment agreements cannot transform China into a Western-style market economy or turn it into a democracy.
The short-sighted German-driven agreement betrays the European project and poses a major economic and political problem for the rest of the West.
The EU is due shortly to sign a major investment deal with China, but Germany in particular will be concerned that the sanctions may destabilise economic relations with China.
An investment deal between China and the European Union restricts Europeans from investing in Chinese media and entertainment companies but does not block Chinese firms from investing in European ones.
Beijing and Brussels are trying to finalise what has been described as ’the biggest investment agreement’ in history. But will it ever be ratified?
Hong Kong democracy activists have warned the EU it must not ratify its planned new investment deal with China at a time when Beijing is tearing up international obligations to the people of Hong Kong.
The China-EU comprehensive investment agreement (CAI) addresses important issues of market access, regulatory cooperation and sustainable development, but does not include sections on investment protection and ISDS.
GI is a label used for identifying the geographical origin of a product, and is an important type of intellectual property right.