EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment

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Information Guide on a bilateral agreement negotiated and concluded by the European Union (EU) and China, known as the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI).

Further information:

An impact assessment was carried by the European Commission in 2013 concerning an investment agreement with China. In October 2013, the Council of the European Union adopted the EU's negotiating mandate for talks. The first round of negotiations for the CAI were launched in January 2014. A Sustainability Impact Assessment was carried between 2015-2018 to assess the potential economic, social and environmental impact of the agreement. In 2016, the EU and China agreed on the scope of such agreement. The conclusion of the negotiations and agreement in principle was announced on 30 December 2020.

The document foresees an improvement to market access conditions for European companies; fair competition when operating in China; transparency, predictability and legal certainty of the investment environment; commitments on the behaviour of state-owned enterprises and increased transparency of subsidies; the centrality of sustainable development; provisions on investment protection and dispute settlement.

The European Commission announced on 4 May 2021 the suspension of efforts to ratify this Agreement. This decision resulted from increasing diplomatic tension between the European Union and China, including the establishment of sanctions from both sides.

Related Links
Commentary and Analysis
EPRS: Briefing, October 2013: EU-China bilateral investment agreement
PISM: Policy Paper No. 91, April 2014: Rocky Road to a Level Playing Field in EU–China Investment and Trade Relations
Egmont Institute: Policy Brief No. 68, February 2016: The EU–China Bilateral Investment Agreement. Between high hopes and real challenges
Leiden University: Law Blog, 19/07/2018: Bilateral Investment between EU and China is Top Priority
EPRS: Briefing, September 2020: EU–China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment: Levelling the playing field with China [International Agreements in Progress]
CEPS: In Brief, 19/10/2020: EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment
Bruegel: Blog, 17/12/2020: When and how should the European Union conclude an investment agreement with China?
EUObserver: Opinion, 18/12/2020: EU should not rush investment deal with China
Atlantic Council: Blog, 22/12/2020: An EU-China investment deal is near—but is it ‘worth having?’
Euronews, 30/12/2020: EU and China set to agree investment deal, but could human rights concerns scupper it being signed?
Forbes, 31/12/2020: What The European Union And China Investment Agreement Will Mean For Future Retail Trade Deals
Foreign Policy, 31/12/2020: What Merkel Really Thinks About China — and the World
Euro|topics, January 2021: EU and China conclude investment deal
EurActiv, 05/01/2021: China investment agreement and the golden calf of EU unity
The Economist, 07/01/2021: Cynicism explains a flawed new EU-China commercial pact
Carnegie Europe: Strategic Europe, 07/01/2021: Judy Asks: Is the EU-China Deal a Mistake?
Politico: Europe At Large, 08/01/2021: In defense of the EU-China investment deal
Social Europe, 11/01/2021: EU-China investment deal: a ‘values-based’ relationship?
EUObserver: Opinion, 11/01/2021: Europe must plot its own course on China
LSE: US Centre Blog, 13/01/2021: A China Strategy to Reunite America’s Allies
ETUC: Joint Appeal on the Inclusion of Enforceable Human Rights Clauses in the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (13 January 2021)
ICDS: Commentary, 15/01/2021: EU-China Investment Deal: A Transatlantic Problem First and Foremost
DGAP: Online Commentary, 19/01/2021: The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI - One Deal, Two Realities
Institut Montaigne: Policy Paper, 20/01/2021: Wins and Losses in the EU-China Investment Agreement (CAI)
Foreign Policy, 21/01/2021: Europe Is Getting Closer to China, But Biden Can Pull It Back
ECFR: Commentary, 21/01/2021: Europe’s China deal: How not to work with the Biden administration
Bruegel: Podcast, 27/01/2021: A rushed deal or a rush to judgement?
France 24: Talking Europe, 29/01/2021: EU-China relations: Human rights concerns over new trade agreement
Kiel Institute for the World Economy: Kiel Focus, February 2021: The EU-China Investment Agreement as seen from Europe: achievements with shortfalls
Project Syndicate: Commentary, 04/02/2021: The Limits of the EU-China Investment Agreement
PIIE: Blog, 10/02/2021: Can the EU-China investment deal lead to global economic cooperation?
Atlantic Council: Blog, 26/02/2021: Why tactical bargaining won the EU-China Investment Deal
PIIE: Blog, 10/03/2021: EU-China investment accord fails to resolve subsidy disputes
EPRS: Briefing, March 2021: EU–China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment: Levelling the playing field with China [International Agreements in Progress]
LSE: EUROPP Blog, 23/03/2021: Putting the China-EU investment agreement in perspective – and assessing the lessons for the UK
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Article, 24/03/2021: Europe’s Tightrope Diplomacy on China
Foreign Policy, 29/03/2021: China and Europe Are Breaking Over Human Rights
EPRS: Blog, 30/03/2021: Citizens’ Enquiries On Ratification Of The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement On Investment
FIIA: Comment No 5, 31/03/2021: EU-China investment agreement: the EU’s balancing act between values and economic interests
Bruegel: Policy Contribution, 13/04/2021: Is the European Union’s investment agreement with China underrated?
ECFR: Policy Brief, 15/04/2021: Home advantage: How China’s protected market threatens Europe’s economic power
VOA News, 28/04/2021: Is EU-China Investment Deal ‘Dead as a Doornail’?

EUObserver, 09/10/2013: EU-China trade talks set for November launch
Bloomberg, 10/12/2020: Scrapped China Talks Cast Shadow Over EU Investment Pact
Bloomberg, 18/12/2020: China Says EU Investment Deal in Final Stage, Hails Progress
Reuters, 18/12/2020: China, EU aim for investment pact by year-end, Germany says
Politico, 22/12/2020: EU-China investment deal hits a snag as US exerts pressure
VOA News, 25/12/2020: EU-China Investment Talks Near Completion, Raising Concerns
France24, 26/12/2020: European businesses hopeful of China-EU investment deal
The Guardian, 29/12/2020: China and EU poised to sign long-delayed investment deal
Deutsche Welle, 29/12/2020: EU-China investment deal done and dusted
Politico, 29/12/2020: China promises to ban forced labor under EU investment deal
BBC News, 29/12/2020: China and EU 'on verge' of major investment deal
Associated Press, 30/12/2020: EU, China leaders seal long-awaited investment deal
RTÉ News, 30/12/2020: EU seeks to rebalance China ties with investment agreement
Politico, 06/01/2021: MEPs emerge as top hurdle to EU-China trade deal
Reuters, 07/01/2021: Investment deal expected to bolster European dealmaking in China
Politico, 08/10/2021: Australia offers Europe a warning on a trade deal with China
Politico, 12/01/2021: EU will not ask China to sign forced labor ban before ratifying investment deal, says French minister
Euronews, 12/01/2021: Brussels-Beijing deal could threaten cooperation with US on China
The Guardian, 21/01/2021: China deal damages EU's human rights credibility, MEPs to say
Spiegel Online International, 25/01/2021: Experts Demand Suspension of EU-China Investment Deal
EurActiv, 28/01/2021: European Commission defends China trade deal after MEP warning
VOA News, 12/02/2021:  China Investment Deal Seen as Test of EU Cohesion
RFI News, 12/03/2021: EU hesitates over investment deal with increasingly authoritarian China
Reuters, 23/03/2021: EU-China deal grinds into reverse after tit-for-tat sanctions
EUObserver, 23/03/2021: China-EU relations on knife-edge after sanctions
The Guardian, 04/05/2021: EU efforts to ratify China investment deal ‘suspended’ after sanctions
Deutsche Welle, 04/05/2021: EU-China investment deal put on ice over sanctions
Politico, 04/05/2021: EU trade chief says efforts to ratify China deal ‘suspended’
Euronews, 04/05/2021: EU suspends efforts to ratify controversial investment deal with China
EurActiv, 05/05/2021: EU efforts to ratify China investment deal ‘suspended’ after sanctions

European Commission: DG Trade: EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment
European Parliament: Legislative Train Schedule: EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (EU-China CAI)
European Commission: Press Release, 23/05/2013: Commission proposes to open negotiations for an investment agreement with China
European Commission: Speech by EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht on the EU-China investment agreement (8 October 2013)
European Parliament: Legislative Observatory: Procedure File for Resolution on the EU-China negotiations for a bilateral investment agreement (2013)
European Parliament: Press Release, 09/10/2013: MEPs ask to improve rules for EU industry operating in China
Chinese State Council: News, 10/04/2019: China, EU aim to conclude comprehensive investment agreement in 2020
European Commission: Press Release, 30/12/2020: EU and China reach agreement in principle on investment
European Commission: Press Release, 30/12/2020: Key elements of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment
European Commission: Q&A: EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) (30 December 2020)
German Federal Government: News, 30/12/2020: The EU and China - Agreement in principle reached on investment
EU EEAS: Delegation of the European Union to China: Fact Sheet of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (7 January 2021)
European Commission: DG Trade, 12/03/2021: Commission publishes market access offers of the EU-China investment agreement

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