mandag 28. mars 2022

Is the EU-China Investment Agreement Dead?

“We know we are in a complicated phase of relations with China,” European Union trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis said recently, referencing the upcoming April 1 virtual summit between Brussels and Beijing. The summit arrives at an inopportune and awkward time for both sides. Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine and China’s reluctance to condemn it has caused the EU’s 27 member states to “rethink” their ties with Beijing within a “new global context.” As a result, ratification of the previously much-hailed EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) seems less certain than ever and likely will not occur anytime soon.

The chilly sentiment is mutual. Amid political tensions with the West, Beijing has bolstered economic ties closer to home, most notably with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) – arguably the largest free trade deal in world history – projected to add $500 billion to global trade by 2030. In a speech earlier this March announcing his annual work report to lawmakers, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang made no mention of trade deals with the United States or the EU, a notable departure from the past three years. The report itself also did not discuss trade with the United States.