European Union Chamber of Commerce in China called on China and the EU to finalize their bilateral investment treaty (BIT) by the end of this year. As the Sino-European relationship faces a growing list of obstacles, ranging from differences on, for example, Hong Kong and Xinjiang issues to growing US unilateralism, the two sides need more than ever to confront the parties. challenges facing the global economy.
According to Chinese scholars, both sides - and not just one - must make efforts and compromises to support cooperation, including negotiations on the BIT.
China's foreign trade has stabilized and gradually improved over the first eight months of this year, but it still faces a grim and complex backdrop, a trade official said on Thursday.
Since the beginning of this year, a series of policies and measures aimed at stabilizing foreign trade promulgated by the State Council have been constantly implemented, and China's foreign trade situation is better than expected, has Gao Feng, spokesperson for the Ministry of Commerce, said during a press briefing.
In addition, demand in the international market has partially recovered, as the purchasing managers index of some major global economies improved in August, he continued.
Nevertheless, China still faces a grim and complex context when it comes to foreign trade, Gao said, citing the COVID-19 pandemic, and the emergence of feelings of protectionism and unilateralism.
The ministry will continue to constantly apply foreign trade policies in order to benefit market entities as soon as possible, he said, adding that more measures will be taken to promote exports of basic goods, increase imports and encourage export enterprises to explore the domestic market.
In its annual white paper released last Thursday, the EU Chamber of Commerce extensively highlights the difficulties facing the China-EU relationship and sees the BIT as a necessity to be fulfilled before the end of the year. She said this is why it is imperative that the EU and China reach political agreement on the Comprehensive Investment Agreement by the end of 2020, a Chamber of Commerce policy document says.
Speaker Joerg Wuttke said in a statement on the occasion: “It really feels like it's now or never. "
The white paper focuses largely on the oft-repeated grievances about the problems and difficulties in the Chinese market, even going so far as to venture into the political realm of a "clash of China's charm offensive towards European companies and their "wolf warriors" in Europe ".
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Even though it mentions a “deterioration” of European public opinion towards China, this document does not however address the problems within the EU itself, in particular the strengthening of restrictions on Chinese acquisitions of European companies and the ambivalent posture of certain European countries vis-à-vis the repression of Chinese technology companies like Huawei by the United States, note the Chinese experts.
The Chinese market & Obstacles
“The EU has raised some questions about the Chinese market, but there are also obstacles within the EU that need to be overcome,” says Bai Ming, deputy director of the affiliated International Market Research Institute. at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation (CAITEC).
According to him, the difficult situation created by the Covid-19 pandemic and growing global tensions require "political wisdom" on both sides to turn this situation into an opportunity for cooperation rather than conflict.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and their differences, Chinese and European policymakers have remained closely linked this year, with a series of high-level meetings where the two sides largely focused on cooperation, including the bilateral agreement to 'investment.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Wednesday that Chinese President Xi Jinping will organize a virtual summit next Monday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen. The Sino-European BIT and the expansion of economic and trade cooperation will be the main issues discussed at this much-anticipated summit.
In addition, high-level negotiations will be held on cooperation between China and the EU for the acceleration of their respective digital economies and on the latest proposal by China to discuss a set of rules to govern “security”. global data, ”some sources indicate.
"While the Sino-European bilateral relationship faces many complications and some European countries as well as the EU Chamber of Commerce in China focus on the negative points, the overall relationship remains strong and on track. because the two parties need each other and support each other, ”notes Cui Hongjian, director of European studies at the Institute of International Studies of China.