Beijing: The head of the European Chamber of Commerce in China said on Saturday that although China has refused to promise to complete the transaction before the deadline, European companies in China are hopeful that a Sino-European investment deal will be reached before the end of the year.
The China-EU Comprehensive Investment Agreement has been implemented for seven years and is expected to pave the way for European companies to invest in financial services, telecommunications, electric vehicles and other fields that are gradually opening up to foreign investment. China.
However, the agreement is facing the introduction of some European members of Congress and president-elect Biden into the U.S. government, who would say that it does not address concerns about the use of forced labor by Chinese manufacturers, especially the unrest in Xinjiang North-west region.
“The next few days will be interesting. My sense is that there is a serious push to get this past the finishing line,” Joerg Wuttke, head of the European Chamber of Commerce in China, told AFP.
“It’s not a perfect deal, far from it, but it’s a big step forward.”
China’s commerce ministry has refrained from committing to a year-end deadline and appears prepared for an extension of discussions.
“In order to preserve its security and development interests, China will conduct the negotiations at its own pace and strive to reach a comprehensive, balanced and ambitious investment agreement with the EU,” it said in a statement late Thursday.
“The China-EU investment agreement is aimed at providing more investment opportunities and sound institutional guarantees for the two sides, but to reach it requires joint efforts and to meet each other halfway,” it added.
France’s junior trade minister, Franck Riester, said in an interview with Le Monde on Wednesday that Beijing needs to resolve the issue of forced labor if Paris agrees to the agreement.
Human rights groups have raised concerns about Xinjiang’s labor habits. According to reports, members of Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities have been forced to pick cotton under a mandatory state plan. Beijing rejected the charges.
Other critics of the deal say it may weaken Biden’s efforts to repair the bridge between Donald Trump and his European allies after Donald Trump’s divisive term.
“There is nothing in the agreement that would be at the disadvantage of the US,” Wuttke insisted.
But Biden’s camp has been nervous about Brussels moving closer to Beijing.
Jake Sullivan, who has been tipped as National Security Advisor, tweeted on Tuesday that: “The Biden-Harris administration would welcome early consultations with our European partners on our common concerns about China’s economic practices.”
This investment agreement aims to create a level playing field in China for European companies that have long complained about preferential conditions for domestic companies.
The treaty will also strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights for European companies and prohibit mandatory technology transfer.