Investment pact with EU set to be concluded
Updated: 2015-03-04 07:49
By Fu Jing and Liu Jia in Brussels(China Daily)
European Parliament president reportedly to visit Beijing this month
Beijing and Brussels are soon expected to conclude an investment pact, European Parliament President Martin Schulz told China Daily in an exclusive interview.
"The negotiations for a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, launched at the end of 2013, figure at the top of the European Union's priorities in its economic relations with China," Schulz said before the opening of the annual session of the National People's Congress in Beijing.
"On the EU side, we are placing the emphasis on the facilitation of market access, transparency, nondiscrimination and a level playing field for EU investors in China," he said.
Sources say Schulz is due to visit Beijing this month to start high-level exchanges between Beijing and Brussels, although Schulz didn't confirm the visit. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship. Premier Li Keqiang will hold a summit with his EU counterparts in Brussels later this year.
Schulz said four rounds of talks have already been completed on the investment pact and that progress has been much faster than expected.
"This negotiation sets a positive tone and sheds optimism that can be of good use for the overall bilateral trade relations between the EU and China," said Schulz.
He said the European Parliament welcomes strengthened economic relations between the EU and China and favors a well-balanced relationship.
"We expect to have an ambitious investment agreement, which aims to create a better environment for EU investors in China and vice versa," he said.
Although the EU is eager to invest energy and resources in the negotiations, "we certainly should not rush. Quality and added value outcome is the priority. I am convinced that China will agree with this objective."
As to Beijing's proposal to launch feasibility studies on an EU-China free trade agreement, Schulz said trade and investment will continue to be an area where more can be achieved.
"But we must handle this relationship with a step-by-step approach," said Schulz.
He said there is considerable scope for strengthening parliamentary ties between the EU and China.
"This positive momentum must be maintained, and not only for this year," said Schulz.
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(China Daily 03/04/2015 page6)