Members' Research Service By / September 14, 2020

EU–China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment: Levelling the playing field with China [International Agreements in Progress][Policy Podcast]

Lack of reciprocity in access to the Chinese market and the absence of a level playing field for EU investors in China have posed major challenges for EU-China investment relations in recent years, with the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on investment (CAI) being considered by the EU a key instrument to remedy this state of play.

© Alex_Po / Adobe Stock

Written by Gisela Grieger (updated on 17.02.2021),

© Alex_Po / Adobe Stock

Lack of reciprocity in access to the Chinese market and the absence of a level playing field for EU investors in China have posed major challenges for EU-China investment relations in recent years, with the negotiation of a comprehensive agreement on investment (CAI) being considered by the EU a key instrument to remedy this state of play.

The CAI negotiations aimed at establishing a uniform legal framework for EU-China investment ties by replacing the 25 outdated bilateral investment treaties (BITs) China and EU Member States had concluded prior to the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 when the EU gained competence for most investment issues. The CAI was intended to go far beyond traditional investment protection, also covering market access, investment-related sustainable development, and level playing field issues, such as transparency of subsidies, and rules on state-owned enterprises (SOEs) and forced technology transfer.

On 30 December 2020, negotiators reached an agreement in principle which is now undergoing legal scrubbing and will subsequently be translated into all official EU languages – which may take up to one year – before it will be formally submitted to the Council for approval and to the European Parliament for consent.

Comprehensive Agreement on Investment between the European Union and its Member States, of the one part, and the People’s Republic of China, of the other part
Committee responsible: International Trade (INTA)
Rapporteur: Iuliu Winkler (EPP, Romania)

Read the complete briefing on ‘EU–China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment: Levelling the playing field‘ on the Think Tank pages of the European Parliament.

Listen to policy podcast ‘EU–China: International Agreements in Progress’ on YouTube.


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