mercoledì 21 ottobre 2020

Segnalazione da CEPS: EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment Can a WTO-plus offer seal the deal?

 Concluding the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment would mean cementing a trade relationship on a level playing field between two of the world’s greatest economies. As the deadline for concluding the Agreement draws near, and at the juncture of their 33rd round of negotiations, author Weinian Hu hopes that China will step up its level of ambition and with a WTO-plus offer to help bridge the current gap, especially on financial market access, between the Chinese and EU positions.

After 32 rounds of negotiations on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), by the end of September the main differences between the EU and China (besides sustainable development) concerned market access, including that for financial services. On this aspect, the EU’s terms of reference for its negotiation objectives are the concessions that China offered to the US under the US-China Economic and Trade Agreement, signed on 15 January 2020 (the ‘phase one agreement’).

The EU is right to refer to the phase one agreement, since EU and American financial service providers experience the same grievances with regard to access to access to China’s financial market. What is awkward is that the concessions reached between China and the US are based on reciprocity, which means they won’t extend to the EU, or to other third parties.

This commentary looks at how the EU and China succeeded in reaching an agreement 20 years ago, in the run up to China’s WTO accession.

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