“There is currently a threat that China will be the big winner of the Corona crisis, and Europe must not become the big loser,” warns EPP parliamentary group leader Manfred Weber. German industry is also getting in touch.
Dhe group chairman of the European People’s Party (EPP) Manfred Weber welcomes the envisaged investment agreement between the European Union and China. “There is currently a threat that China will be the big winner of the Corona crisis, and Europe must not become the big loser,” said the CSU politician in Brussels. “That is why we must continue to have the strength to improve trade relations, also to conclude modern trade contracts and not to put them on the back burner.”
Weber described the EU’s cooperation with China as a central task for the future. China is not only an exciting sales market, but also a system competitor that challenges the values of the EU. “That is why modern trade policy today must be linked with our principles, with our agenda, which is shaped by our values,” said Weber. “And that means in concrete terms that the question of forced labor, the question of labor standards, is part of modern trade agreements.”
In addition, it is about fair competitive conditions. If Chinese corporations are allowed to go on a shopping spree in Europe, it must be the other way around.
Praise from German industry
EU representatives announced on Tuesday that negotiations on the agreement would be concluded after seven years and that political agreement in principle could be reached on Wednesday. This should be done in a video conference at the top level. The aim of the agreement is to make it easier for European companies to invest in China on fair terms. China is committed to environmental and social standards.
The Chairman of the Trade Committee in the European Parliament, Bernd Lange (SPD), welcomed the future legal security for European companies. He mentioned several points: China is making it easier for Europe to invest in telecommunications and the automotive sector.State-owned companies should in future operate according to market-based standards and should not discriminate against European market participants. And China will not only show subsidies in the goods sector, but also in certain services. With a view to employee rights and precautions against forced labor, the European Parliament will carefully examine the contract, added Lange.
The Green MEP Reinhard Bütikofer, however, complained: “When it comes to forced labor in China, the EU Commission wants to be satisfied with superficial lip service.” The EU Parliament recently demanded a much better result with an overwhelming majority. It is not plausible why “this agreement should now be pushed through with maximum year-end hectic”.
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The Federation of German Industries (BDI) praises the breakthrough that has apparently been achieved in the negotiations with China. “More market openness in both directions and better competitive conditions in the state-run China are of great benefit to German, European and Chinese companies,” said Managing Director Joachim Lang to the “Handelsblatt”. At the same time, he warned against too high expectations: “We should not be under any illusions: even with the agreement, investors will not yet get really free market access in China.”
The agreement is just another step. The decisive factor is how the Chinese government actually implements these improvements and how the rules can be enforced.
At times, the talks between Brussels and Beijing stalled due to disputes over possible forced labor in China. The problems now seem to have been resolved. After the negotiations, EU Commission Vice Valdis Dombrovskis reached an agreement in principle with the
Guided tour in Beijing recommended, it said on Tuesday from EU circles. China got theThe necessary “substantial commitments” were made in three central points: market access, fair competition and sustainable development. These included “corporate standards for social responsibility and work”.
China has promised to undertake “sustained and sustained efforts” to ratify two conventions of the international labor organization ILO against forced labor. In addition, the EU will autonomously use further instruments to fight againstDevelop forced labor.
The result of the negotiations is the most ambitious that China has ever agreed with a third country, EU circles said. It would give European investors access to all sectors of the economy, including vehicles, cloud services, financial services and healthcare.
New rules against the compulsory transfer of technology as well as new obligations for state-owned companies and full transparency for subsidies are foreseen. The agreement is true core values and goals of the EU. For the first time, China has accepted solid rules for sustainable development, including those for the environment and climate. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Tuesday that the latest talks had made “great strides” with efforts on both sides.