On December 30, 2020, leaders from China and the EU announcedthey had agreed in principle on the text of a long-awaited Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), after seven long years of negotiation. Meeting the end-of-2020 goal was no mean feat; as late as September 2020, after a China-EU virtual meeting, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen cautioned that “a lot – a lot – still remains to be done” on the CAI, adding, “China has to convince us that it’s worth having an investment agreement.”
But it’s too early for negotiators to celebrate even now. The text of the CAI still needs to be finalized and undergo a legal review. Then it will have to be approved by the European Council, the heads of government of the EU’s member states.