China, EU 'to launch investment treaty talks'

Updated: 2013-11-13 02:21

By Zhou Wa and Wu Jiao in Beijing and FU JING in Brussels (China Daily)

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In April, Iceland became the first European country to reach a free trade agreement with China, followed by Switzerland in July.

Zhang Haiyan, a professor at the Antwerp Management School, said the EU may put non-commercial items such as sustainable development, social responsibility and human rights on the negotiating agenda while trying to gain more market access in China.

Beijing will ask Brussels to accept equal investment status for its State-owned enterprises, Zhang said.

Analysts said it will take time to finally conclude an investment treaty, because China and the EU have different understanding on the degree of market openness and different expectations on the treaty.

Former European Parliament member Glyn Ford said the process will be protracted, with demands on market access coming from the European Commission and the European Parliament.

Future ties

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the China-EU comprehensive partnership. Ederer said he is optimistic about the future for both sides, seeing huge opportunities for Europe in China.

With China's goal of becoming a moderately prosperous society by 2020, and the EU's 2020 agenda of becoming more competitive and striking a balance between social protection and economic performance, the two sides have many similarities, Ederer said.

"There are a lot of big challenges in China that can partially be addressed technologically, such as water scarcity or environmental pollution. I think European companies are uniquely positioned to help on that," he said.

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