Talks have stalled between the European Union and China on an investment agreement that had appeared to be in its final phase.
The EU-China investment agreement, seven years in the making, would ensure that European companies in China can compete with domestic firms on a level playing field. It would also safeguard Chinese companies’ access to European markets.
China has made new concessions for European companies to gain access to its market, but there are still many differences remaining, according to the latest draft seen by dpa on Thursday.
Both sides had been aiming for at least a basic agreement by the end of the year.
European Commission Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis and China’s Vice Premier Liu He had originally planned to iron out the remaining points of contention on Monday, but their top-level talks have been postponed until after Christmas, dpa has learned.
The passages on workers’ rights are among the areas requiring further discussion “on a political level.”
The thorny issue of discrimination against European companies in public procurement in China was put aside, but a greater degree of transparency was agreed in cases of government subsidies.
Beijing made new concessions in the field of transport services by sea or air, finance, computers, research and development, cars with alternative engines, telecommunications, cloud services as well as in the operation of private hospitals, according to internal documents on the deal from Brussels.
Both sides reaffirmed their intention “to create a better climate for promoting and developing trade and investment” at the beginning of the draft.
The agreement would set out “the necessary arrangements for a progressive and significant liberalization of investment.”