Negotiations in EU-China investment agreement enters ‘critical stage’: EU’s ambassador to China Nicolas Chapuis

On Friday, a senior EU official stated, following six years of negotiations, EU-China negotiations on investment agreement have entered a “critical stage” and are progressing well.

In a news briefing in Beijing, Nicolas Chapuis, EU’s ambassador to China, stated, progress in the negotiations is moving smoothly “month after month”.

The EU seeking more market access for European businesses in China, said Chapuis.

In December 2019, Sabine Weyand, the European Commission’s director general for trade, had said in Brussels that the pace of negotiations were moving at a “snail’s pace”.

On Thursday, European companies had called on EU policy-makers to toughen their stance with China in order to secure a level playing field for European businesses.

The EU and China have both stated they aim to conclude the negotiations in 2020.

In December 2019, Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi had said, Beijing is prioritizing its diplomatic relations with Europe, as a means to be less dependent on the United States following trade tensions.

The Chinese government has also assured Chapuis that the recently signed U.S.-China Phase 1 trade agreement will “in no way” affect European businesses.

The EU is monitoring to see the deal complies with global trade rules, said the EU’s Trade Commissioner Phil Hogan.

“The devil is in the details,” said Hogan while adding that the details were, so far, “a bit sketchy.”

The EU, which labeled China a “systemic rival” in 2019, is scheduled to hold a series of meetings with Chinese officials in 2020, including a high-profile summit in Leipzig later this year in September where Chinese President Xi Jinping is set to join European leaders, said Chapuis.

While the European Union is China’s biggest trading partner, China is the EU’s second biggest.

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