The European Union (EU) and China have been negotiating the terms of a comprehensive investment agreement for several years. The agreement aims to promote and protect investments between the two regions and remove barriers to investment.
Negotiations began in 2014, but progress has been slow due to differences in regulatory standards, market access, and human rights concerns. However, both parties have shown a willingness to work towards a mutually beneficial agreement.
The EU hopes to increase market access for its companies in China, particularly in the services sector, and improve the protection of European investments in the country. The agreement would also address issues related to state-owned enterprises, transparency, and subsidies.
On the other hand, China sees the agreement as an opportunity to boost its own investments in Europe and improve its global image. The country is currently the EU`s second-largest trading partner, and the agreement would provide greater certainty for Chinese companies operating in Europe.
Despite the potential benefits, the negotiations have faced criticism from some quarters. Human rights groups have expressed concern that the agreement could lead to the EU turning a blind eye to human rights abuses in China. Some European companies have also raised concerns about the lack of reciprocity in market access and regulatory standards.
Nonetheless, negotiations have continued, with both sides expressing a desire to reach an agreement. In December 2020, the EU and China announced that they had reached an agreement in principle on investment, though details of the deal still need to be worked out.
The negotiations have taken on added significance in the context of a changing global order. With the United States pursuing a more protectionist agenda under President Trump, China has sought to expand its influence globally, including by working more closely with the EU.
Whether the agreement can be finalized and implemented remains to be seen. However, it is clear that it has the potential to significantly impact investment flows between Europe and China, and shape the global economic landscape.