Chinese minister says EU investment deal is close

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte (R) receives the Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Ministry of Finance in The Hague, The Netherlands, 26 August 2020. The minister is touring various countries to achieve more cooperation between China and Europe. [EPA-EFE/PHIL NIJHUIS]

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Sunday (30 August) in Paris that a China-EU investment deal could be reached by the end of the year.

His remark came against a backdrop of persistent diplomatic tension between Beijing and the United States.

Wang said Europe and China had a responsibility to work for “a more stable world” that would benefit from an agreement that has been in the works for several years.

“We have the possibility to conclude one by the end of the year. We each need to take a step towards the other,” the minister told a conference organised by the French Institute for International Relations (IFRI).

Wang is visiting European capitals to reinforce ties as relations with the US remain tense.

Chinese and European experts have been working for seven years on a deal to protect foreign investments, reinforce respect for intellectual copyrights, end obligations to transfer technology and subsidies for Chinese public enterprises.

The US is also trying to establish more balanced economic ties with China, but those efforts are struggling to make headway.

In June, European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen said that work on an agreement with the European Union had become “difficult” and warned: “We need more ambition on China’s part to wrap up an agreement by the end of the year.”

China calls for opening free trade talks with the EU

Chinese foreign affairs minister Wang Yi made a “plea” on Monday (16 December) for launching free trade talks with the EU, in parallel with the ongoing negotiations on an investment deal.

Subscribe to our newsletters