Trade: In­vest­ment pact talks be­tween China, EU ad­vanc­ing

China Daily (Canada) - - TOP NEWS -

re­stric­tions on mar­ket ac­cess and in­vest­ment in sec­tors like au­to­mo­biles, in­for­ma­tion and com­mu­ni­ca­tion tech­nol­ogy, bankingand­fi­nan­cial ser­vices, and util­i­ties, Sch­weisgut said.

Ma Yu, a se­nior re­searcher at the Chi­nese Acad­emy of In­ter­na­tional Trade and Eco­nomicCo­op­er­a­tion in Bei­jing, said: “China should fur­ther ad­vance neg­a­tive lists to bet­ter pro­tect in­vest­ment from theEU, as well as to give Euro­pean com­pa­nies the right to ac­quire or merge with do­mes­tic com­pa­nies, in­stead of only build­ing joint ven­tures.”

A neg­a­tive list says which eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties are pro­hib­ited, while all oth­ers are con­sid­ered to be al­lowed.

China at­tracted 813.2 bil­lion yuan ($118.2 bil­lion) in for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment last year, with in­vest­ment from the EU surg­ing by 41.3 per­cent, said theMin­istry of Com­merce.

“Pres­i­dent Xi’s speech in Davos fo­cused not only on glob­al­iza­tion but also on in­clu­sive growth. This is an im­por­tant con­cept, which we would also like to fo­cus on mor­ein Europe be­cause open mar­kets and trade have pro­duced huge ben­e­fits world­wide,” Sch­weisgut said.

There has been a glob­al­iza­tion backlash in many parts of the world, how­ever, he said. TheEUneeds to ad­dress the con­cerns of cit­i­zens who feel that they have been left be­hind, lead­ing to ris­ing in­equal­ity and in­se­cu­rity among some, he added.

“But we do be­lieve this should not go in the di­rec­tion of pro­tec­tion­ism, … and we do be­lieve in in­ter­na­tional co­op­er­a­tion and strength­en­ing eco­nomic ties, es­pe­cially with China,” Sch­weisgut said.

China is the EU’s sec­ond­largest trad­ing part­ner, be­hind theUnited States, and theEUis China’s big­gest trad­ing part­ner. In 2016, Sino-EU trade de­clined by 3.1 per­cent year-on-year to $547 bil­lion.

“With Pres­i­dent Trump now tak­ingUS trade pol­icy in a pro­tec­tion­ist di­rec­tion, China as well as the EU need to de­fend their trad­ing rights and the open econ­omy,” said Fredrik Erixon, di­rec­tor of the Euro­pean Cen­tre for In­ter­na­tional Po­lit­i­cal Econ­omy in Brus­sels.

“The best way to do so is to push ahead with agree­ments that are sig­nif­i­cant and con­se­quen­tial, that are based on a pos­i­tive agenda for trade.”

Since 2013, China and the EU have been ne­go­ti­at­ing on a com­pre­hen­sive agree­ment on in­vest­ment. Once it en­ters into force, it will re­place the ex­ist­ing bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment treaties be­tween China and EU mem­ber states.

“The next step will be to agreeon­the core pro­vi­sions of the agree­ment and ex­change of­fers. That we hope will hap­pen in 2017,” Sch­weisgut said.

Zhong Nan con­trib­uted to this story.

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