Pact to provide greater market access, brighter future for cooperation, Xi says
A landmark China-European Union investment deal agreed upon Wednesday
night will provide greater market access for both sides and a brighter
future for China-EU cooperation, President Xi Jinping said on Wednesday.
The agreement was reached "in principle" as negotiations drew to a
close on the bilateral investment agreement, the negotiators said.
In a videoconference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French
President Emmanuel Macron, European Council President Charles Michel and
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, Xi and the European
leaders jointly announced the conclusion of the negotiations after more
than seven years of talks.
The balanced, high-quality and mutually beneficial agreement
demonstrates China's resolve and confidence to promote high-level
opening-up, Xi said.
It will promote recovery of the world economy in the post-pandemic
era, facilitate global trade and the global economy, boost the
international community's confidence toward economic globalization and
free trade and make important contributions to building an open world
economy, he added.
The China-EU investment deal negotiations started in October 2013,
aiming to reach a higher-level agreement covering investment protection
and market access. The two sides held the 35th round of negotiations
early this month.
Xi noted that China is dedicated to building a new development
paradigm, which will bring more market opportunities and greater space
for cooperation for Europe and the whole world.
Xi said he hoped the EU would promote free trade and multilateralism,
and provide an open, fair and nondiscriminatory business environment
for Chinese investors.
Xi pointed out that 2020 has been an extraordinary year for China,
Europe and the world, with rising uncertainties given the outbreak of
COVID-19 and the great changes unseen in a century.
China and Europe have overcome difficulties and made fruitful achievements in strengthening bilateral relations, he said.
China and Europe, as two major forces, two large markets and two
ancient civilizations, should assume their responsibilities and be
proactive in promoting global peace and progress, Xi said.
The president put forward five proposals, namely coordinating their
efforts to fight against pandemics, jointly promoting recovery of the
economy, connecting development strategies, promoting green development
and pushing forward multilateral cooperation.
The investment treaty is a comprehensive, balanced and advanced
agreement that is based on high-level international economic and trade
rules, and focuses on institutional openness, the Ministry of Commerce
said late on Wednesday.
The result of the negotiations covers four areas－market access
commitments, fair competition rules, sustainable development and dispute
settlement, said Li Yongjie, director-general of the ministry's
department of treaty and law.
The European leaders said that despite the influence of COVID-19,
Europe-China communications have been strengthened this year, with a
great amount of progress made, including the conclusion of a
geographical indications agreement on product origins.
The conclusion of negotiations for the EU-China investment deal is a
milestone for Europe-China relations, the leaders said. It will promote
global economic recovery, they said, adding that it also proves that
although Europe and China have disagreements on some issues, both sides
have the will to enhance dialogue, deepen cooperation and achieve
win-win cooperation on the basis of mutual respect.
Hailing the agreement as a high-quality deal, the European leaders
said they appreciated China's efforts to boost opening-up, promote free
trade and facilitate investment.
The EU appreciated China's measures in dealing with climate change
and fighting pandemics, and the two sides should enhance cooperation on
such issues as disease control, climate change, biological diversity,
sustainable development and reform of the World Trade Organization, they
Jochum Haakma, chairman of Brussels-based EU-China Business
Association, said the association is very happy that a decision to
conclude the negotiations has been taken, and of course details will
need to be hammered out in coming months and ratified by the European
Based on the negotiations, European companies active in industries
including financial services, telecommunications services and new energy
vehicles would see new opportunities in China, he said.
It will be of great importance and a big step for the bilateral
relationship and shows the political willingness of both parties to
continue to sit down together and to try to solve problems and
misunderstandings on the basis of reciprocity and a level playing field,
Bernard Dewit, chairman of the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce,
said the move will help to increase trade between China and the EU.
European companies and investors in China will benefit from that.