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China | Brussels, 19 December 2019

EU to evaluate Chinese offer for European investors

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 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 transparency regarding subsidies to Chinese companies.

The EU also wants to see firm commitments by China on sustainable development, in particular the protection of the climate and the environment, as well as on labour rights.

The EU and China will continue to work intensively in 2020, with the next round scheduled in Brussels in the second half of January 2020.

Background

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.

In 2013, the EU and China launched negotiations for a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment. The scope of the negotiations is comprehensive as it goes beyond traditional investment protection agreements and includes market access commitments. In addition, it includes specific obligations on non-discrimination, prohibition of performance requirements, including those leading to technology transfers, fairness and predictability in authorisation procedures, clear and ambitious rules on transparency, and specific rules tailored to the needs of financial services, as well as commitments on sustainable development, including labour, environment and climate.

Improving and rebalancing our trade and investment relationship is one of the key objectives of the EU’s Strategic Outlook on China.

At the EU-China Summit on 9 April 2019, the two sides committed to achieving in the course of 2019 the decisive progress required, notably with regard to the liberalisation commitments, for the conclusion of an ambitious agreement in 2020.

More information

EU-China – A strategic outlook
EU-China Summit Joint Statement, 9 April 2019
EU-China trade and investment relationships
Report of the 25th round