On 30 December 2020, the EU and China concluded the negotiations of the EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement. The agreement has only been made in principle and still requires the approval of Member States and the EU Parliament.
If adopted, it should bring benefits to many EU companies with the removal of long-standing market access barriers such as forced technology transfer and partnerships with Chinese companies. EU companies should have better access to production in areas such as chemicals, telecoms and health equipment and to services such as finance, health and maritime and air transport.
It therefore seems that the uneven playing field between Chinese companies wanting to invest in the EU and EU companies wanting to invest in China has finally been addressed.
Of particular importance to amfori is the commitment China has made not to lower labour standards (to encourage investment) and to ratify ILO conventions on forced labour and on freedom of association and collective bargaining.
Christian Ewert, amfori President, welcomed this news, by highlighting: “For our organisation that places sustainability of supply chains at its heart, we welcome the commitment made to improve sustainable trade by ratifying and implementing the ILO Conventions. It is critical now to collaboratively agree on a roadmap and continued monitoring of those commitments.”