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
Given China’s unique position, the study concludes that the EU must ensure that particularly strong protections for EU regulatory policy space are included in any future investment deal.
The latest round follows straight on the heels of ‘intensive’ talks. Negotiators hope to reach agreement by the end of the year, but issues such as market access remain a stumbling block.
There have been breakthroughs on the level playing field issues. Market access and sustainable development chapters are now being discussed.
European Parliament should back the deal between the EU and China that would protect 200 European and Chinese products, said the Trade Committee on Tuesday.
The European Union wants to speed up negotiations with China on an investment protection agreement, said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The Chinese business community in Europe would like to see less ‘red tape’ and regulatory barriers for its firms on the bloc, but is also open to the idea of offering further opportunities for EU business in China.
The 32nd round of China-European Union bilateral investment treaty negotiations will kick off next week.
During the meeting, the Chinese and EU leaders stated their commitment to speeding up the negotiations of the China-EU Bilateral Investment Treaty to achieve the goal of concluding the negotiations within this year.
European leaders were angry about Xinjiang camps and the Hong Kong crackdown. A long-awaited EU-China summit produced sharper rhetoric but nothing substantive as the bloc struggles to find a coherent approach to China.
European Union leaders told Chinese President Xi Jinping to speed up negotiations to conclude a China-EU investment deal.