(Update 1: Adds detail)
Brussels/Beijing, Dec 30 (EFE) – The European Union and China reached an investment agreement Wednesday that, once in force, will improve European investors’ access to the Chinese market and give them more guarantees to compete on equal terms with local companies.
Brussels and Beijing thus put an end to seven years of negotiations that have gained ground in the closing months of 2020 after China committed to working towards ratifying the conventions of the International Labour Organization (ILO), particularly those related to forced labor, which was of crucial importance to the EU.
The presidents of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, the European Council, Charles Michel, and China’s President Xi Jinping sealed the political settlement for the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment during a video conference that was later joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
Von der Leyen said: “Today‘s agreement is an important landmark in our relationship with China and for our values-based trade agenda. It will provide unprecedented access to the Chinese market for European investors, enabling our businesses to grow and create jobs.
“It will also commit China to ambitious principles on sustainability, transparency and non-discrimination. The agreement will rebalance our economic relationship with China.”
Xi said the agreement would make a “significant contribution” to building an “open world economy” and to boosting post-pandemic economic recovery, according to state-run press agency Xinhua.
The CAI is due to be signed in several months, after the text is finalized, translated and reviewed by legal experts.
GREATER ACCESS TO CHINESE MARKETS
The investment agreement offers, above all, greater investment opportunities for European firms in the Chinese market, given that the main objective of the pact was to rebalance the current situation that sees the EU market more open to Chinese investors than vice versa.