Parliament sets conditions on EU-China investment deal

European Parliament. Plenary session week 11, 2013, Strasburg. Discussion on EU-China relations. (EP Audiovisual Services)

European Parliament. Plenary session week 11, 2013, Strasburg. Discussion on EU-China relations. (EP Audiovisual Services)

A proposal for a resolution on the EU-China investment and market access agreement will be discussed in the October 8 plenary session of the European Parliament. A vote is scheduled to follow on the same day. The resolution, drafted by Helmut Scholz (GUE/NGL, DE), was passed by 25 votes to 2 with 3 abstentions, during the 17 September meeting of the External/international trade Parliamentary Committee (INTA).

If this resolution, setting out Parliament’s demands, is approved by the plenary as it is most probable, the Council of Ministers is expected after a few days to authorize, the launch of EU-China bilateral investment talks. The talks will be conducted by the Commission. The Parliament however will follow closely the progress of negotiations. Once the deal is struck, Parliament’s consent will be needed in order for it to enter in force.

According to INTA Committee, EU-China talks on this investment and market access accord will touch interests that are highly sensitive for the EU public. The Committee insists therefore that negotiations must be conducted, “with the highest possible level of transparency and subject to parliamentary oversight”. This will be a precondition for the European Parliament’s consent to the deal, which will be required later.

A level playing field

This deal, designed to protect investors on both sides, would be the first after the Lisbon Treaty made foreign direct investments an exclusive EU competence. When the agreement will be concluded and approved by all three EU decision-making bodies – the Parliament, the Council and the Commission – it would replace the 26 bilateral investment agreements that EU member states have signed with China and are in force today.

According to Scholz the agreement will create “A level playing field for investors from all EU member states, while currently some of the existing agreements are less favourable than others. This will also ease the flow of much-needed investments from China into the EU, as Chinese investors won’t have to deal with a mosaic of regulations in Europe any longer”. Germany and Britain, being the first EU countries to have actively promoted investments in China and having signed such bilateral deals many years ago, are favoured by a preferential regime in comparison to other member states. This new agreement is expected to create the same conditions for all member states’ investments in China.

MEP Crescenzio Rivellini (EPP, IT), member of the INTA Committee, commented on the deal as follows: “In bilateral negotiations (separately with each member state) China will always be stronger. It is true that some countries had their advantages; however now it’s clear that it was only in the short-term. Today it is not favourable anymore. Bilateral agreements create a hidden internal competition that can only damage Europe”.

Solving problems in both sides

In many respects this agreement is an internal affair of the European Union, aiming at securing the same conditions for all EU member states’ vis-à-vis China. However there is a major administrative impediment that all EU businesses encounter where in China. To overcome that disadvantage the resolution adopted by the INTA Committee contains the following paragraph: “Whereas the Chinese perceive the EU as a stable investment environment, EU firms’ investments in China are often burdened by, inter alia, the review mechanism that China uses to “filter” foreign investments and the strategic technology transfers demanded in exchange for allowing foreign investors in. Any deal must therefore remove these burdens and create a level the playing field for competition between China’s state-run firms and the EU’s private ones”.

EU legislators also confronted two crucial issues in EU – China relations, concerning the cultural/audiovisual services and EU data protection standards. On the first account MEPs demand that the cultural/audiovisual chapter should be completely excluded from the market access talks. As for data protection, they considered it as ‘cine qua non’ that the deal ensures compliance with EU data protection standards.

Thorny issues

Coming to the social and environmental sides of the deal the Parliament has made two uncompromising statements. “Any deal should include binding corporate social responsibility, social and environmental clauses”. Last but not least the MEPs demand that, “Goods produced in China’s Laogai forced labour camps, should not benefit from investments made under this bilateral investment agreement”.

Undoubtedly, negotiations on this EU-China investment and market access deal will last for quite some time. For one thing some major EU countries will have no strong incentives for a swift conclusion of the talks. On top of that the possible strong Chinese objections to some of the terms set out by the European Parliament may delay the conclusion of the deal.

With or without an EU investment deal though, economic relations between the two sides have skyrocketed. EU-China trade has grown rapidly in the past 30 years, to €433.8 billion in 2012. China’s trade surplus with the EU was €146bn in 2012, up from €49bn in 2000. In 2011, EU firms’ investments in China totalled €102bn and China’s investments in the EU €15bn.

the sting Milestone

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

The Eurogroup has set Cyprus on fire

On International Youth Day the European Youth Forum calls for true youth participation

‘Air bridge’ vaccination operation begins for Ebola-hit communities in DR Congo

Samsung’s profits fall as cheaper smartphones gain market share

Landmark agreement will protect 100 European Geographical Indications in China

This man swam under the East Antarctic ice sheet to highlight the impact of climate change

COVID-19: MEPs free up over €3 billion to support EU healthcare sector

How poor countries can deal with the economic shock of COVID-19

Merkel, Mercedes and Volkswagen to abolish European democracy

G20 LIVE: “This was not an attack against France, this was an attack against the universal human values!”, EU President Juncker cries out from G20 in Antalya Turkey

Rule of law in Hungary: Parliament should ask Council to act, say committee MEPs

EU budget: Commission takes steps to make €11.5 billion available for crisis repair and recovery in 2020

Africa’s Sahel must be a top priority for UN peacebuilding efforts, says commission

For how long will terror and economic stagnation be clouding the European skies?

Now doctors can manipulate genetics to modify babies, is it ethical?

Mental Health: starting with myself

Efforts to save the planet must start with the Antarctic

Wide-ranging reforms needed to ensure Italy’s economic recovery

Can a package from China cause Coronavirus infection? Debunking the top 7 Coronavirus myths!

How to build a paradise for women. A lesson from Iceland

Solidarity Corps: more opportunities for young people

The succesful cooperation

Clean energy will do to gas what gas has done to coal

Where EU air pollution is deadliest

COVID-19: What to know about the coronavirus pandemic on 6 April

Turning Europe into a giant wind farm could power the entire world

Businesses succeed internationally

4 reasons cities should embrace Universal Basic Income

Amid troop build-up in Rohingya’s home state, UN appeals to Myanmar for peaceful solution

Brexit talks: 2nd round fails to bring the EU and the UK closer on key issues

Young students envision turning Europe into an Entrepreneurial Society

Permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) on the table of NATO Defense Ministers amid US concerns

Commission proposes to top up support for refugees in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey

3 things you need to know about securing a blockchain

EU Commission – US hasten talks to avoid NGO reactions on free trade agreement

Youth Parliament to finalise millennials´ priorities for future of the EU

Tokyo 2020 Olympics: from cardboard beds to recycled medals, how the Games are going green

Amidst high trade tensions and policy uncertainty, UN cuts economic growth forecast

Germany fears that Americans and Russians want to partition Europe again

Banks worth $47 trillion adopt new UN-backed climate, sustainability principles

Why are the Balkans’ political leaders meeting in Geneva this week?

Greece may offer to China a European gateway

GSMA Announces New Speakers for Mobile 360 Series – Middle East and North Africa

Everybody against Germany over the expensive euro

Sustainable Development Summit: ‘We must step up our efforts – now’, Guterres declares

Bring killers of journalists to justice: UN agency seeks media partners for new campaign

“BEUC cautions against TTIP that would seek to align EU and US chemicals management frameworks”

France, Germany challenge Trump’s America on Iran and the reign of the dollar

Russia won’t let Ukraine drift westwards in one piece

US cities are going to keep getting hotter

Tax revenues have reached a plateau

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: strategies and reflections

New York high school students are getting free water bottles to cut plastic waste

Digital IDs and the Digital Economy: the (still) missing link?

Workers want flexibility. After COVID, they just might get it: Poll

3 things to know about women in STEM

The EU tells the bare truth to the UK that there is no such thing as easy divorces

European Citizens’ Initiative: Commission registers ‘End the Cage Age’ initiative

Road to Brexit: the UK seeks early agreement on Data Privacy with the EU

Court of Auditors: MEPs back five members

More Stings?



  1. Fantastic goods from you, man. I have understand your stuff previous to
    and you’re just too great. I really like what you’ve acquired here,
    certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it.
    You make it enjoyable and you still take care of to keep it smart.
    I can’t wait to read far more from you. This is really a wonderful site.

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s