CHINA (December 29, 20202)—the European Union and China on the brink of reaching a major deal that opens China’s lucrative domestic markets to European companies and includes commitments from the repressive Chinese regime to beef up its environmental goals and ban forced labor.
This week, European and Chinese media reported on a pending agreement on the so-called investment deal, citing unnamed official sources. An official announcement is expected as early as Wednesday after European leaders speak with Chinese President Xi Jinping by video. Both sides set the end of 2020 as a deadline for reaching the landmark agreement.
But the deal, known as the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, has a human rights problem and has been stalled. The Chinese human rights abuses by the Chinese regime and Chinese demands for access to Europe’s energy markets. In recent days, the EU diplomats said China conceded to demands to uphold workers’ rights, do more to fight climate change and protect the environment.
Since 2013, the EU and China have held talks on giving European companies more access to Chinese markets and its 1.4 billion consumers. The EU, like the U.S., has long complained that China unfairly bars foreign companies from competing in its markets.
EU officials have said the deal will open up China’s markets for new energy vehicles, cloud services, financial services, biotechnology, health, telecommunications, advertising and manufacturing to European companies.
EU officials also say the deal includes provisions against forced technology and limits competition from Chinese state-owned enterprises. European and American companies have long complained that doing business in China involves forcing them to give up technology secrets to China and unfairly having to compete against Chinese companies that are heavily subsidized by the state.
The geopolitical dimensions and optics to the accord are seen as highly significant because such a deal, if approved by EU leaders and the European Parliament, would engender a deepening of ties between China and the EU at a time when the United States is seeking to build an alliance against China, which is now projected to overtake the U.S. economy by 2028.
Thus, the EU-China deal could be a setback with a Trump Administration’s second term. President Donald J. Trump is expected to continue the Trump administration’s tough stance on China. The U.S.’s China policy is no doubt one of the major legacies of the Trump administration’s foreign policy, alongside a renewed side the Abraham Accord in the Middle East.
If the agreement is finalized the EU deal may open up European markets even more to Chinese enterprises, though many analysts believe China sees the deal as more of a political victory than an economic one because it drives a wedge between the U.S. and EU. Still, the deal is expected to open up the EU’s renewable energy sector to Chinese investors.
Source: CN wrote the original article.
Photo: Trump attends a state dinner in the Forbidden City.