Business / Economy

China, European Union to step up talks to seal an investment treaty

By Li Jiabao (China Daily) Updated: 2014-05-23 07:02

China, European Union to step up talks to seal an investment treaty

Business people from Europe purchase hair accessories at the Guangzhou Trade Fair. Zou Zhongpin / China Daily

Both sides determined to surpass speed of US treaty negotiations

Negotiations on an investment treaty between China and the European Union "is still at the beginning stage", a senior official said on Thursday, but both sides are committed to achieving the level of or surpassing the progress of Sino-United States investment treaty talks.

"As Brussels supervises the investment policies of the 28 members, an overall investment pact between China and the EU will have very significant influence on Chinese investment in the bloc," Sun Yongfu, general director for European Affairs of China's Ministry of Commerce, told reporters.

China, European Union to step up talks to seal an investment treaty

China, European Union to step up talks to seal an investment treaty
China terminates investigation of EU wine imports 

The talks are still in their infancy, at only a technical level, but both sides are determined to expedite the pace to level or even outrun the China-US investment treaty negotiations," Sun said.

He added that a third round of talks for the China-EU investment treaty will take place in Beijing early next month.

"The difficulties mainly lie in the degree of opening markets. The EU expects China to open more, and China, vice versa. Meanwhile, departments have different views on the agenda," Sun said.

China started negotiating the investment pact with the EU in January. The country is also in talks with the US for a bilateral investment pact, which started much earlier. The two countries concluded a 12th round of talks in Washington, DC, in early March with substantial progress reported on their framework. The two high-profile pacts are important initiatives with which China's new leadership plans to open up the world's second-largest economy.

"China is likely to make breakthrough on the investment pact talks with the EU, as the country reached investment agreements with many members of the European Union," said Huo Jianguo, president of the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, a think tank at the commerce ministry.

"China and the EU are also key trade partners for each other, and the slow recovery in the 28-member bloc has forced the EU to further tap the Chinese market. Meanwhile, Chinese enterprises this year will continue to invest heavily in the EU," Huo said.

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