China, EU aim for investment pact by year-end, diplomats say

The European Union and China aim to reach an investment accord by the end of 2020 that would grant European companies greater access to the Chinese market after six years of talks, officials and diplomats said on Friday, according to Reuters.

Potentially a big step in repairing Sino-European ties after the coronavirus outbreak in China and Beijing’s crackdown in Hong Kong, the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment would put most EU companies on an equal footing in China.

It would end what the EU says is discrimination and unfair state subsidies for local firms.

“Negotiations are now in their final stages,” Wang Wenbin, a spokesman at the Chinese foreign ministry, said on Friday.

An EU official also said a deal was close after a push from Germany, which holds the EU presidency until the end of the year and is the biggest European exporter to China.

Launched in 2014, negotiations were stuck for years. The EU complained that China was failing to make good on promises made to lift restrictions on European investment, despite its promises to open up the world’s second largest economy.

China already has broad access to the EU’s market of more than 450 million people. The European Commission, the EU executive, has said the investment pact is “a key tool to address this lack of balance.”

A deal would be a turnaround from the pessimism of earlier this year, when the president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China said in June that he doubted a deal could be done by the end-2020 deadline agreed by both sides in 2019.



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