On the agenda were the ongoing negotiations for a China-EU investment agreement and considerations to launch talks for a free trade agreement. The remaining obstacles for European retailers operating stores in and exporting to China were also discussed. Referring to the recent FTA Position Paper on EU-China Trade Relations, talks centred on:
- Obstacles with Chinese customs authorities
- Unnecessarily burdensome product safety requirements
- Non-transparent approving processes for outlet openings
FTA advocated for reinforced framework that tackles these obstacles, clearing the path for economic growth and development between the EU and China. Ambassador Yang pointed out the strong commitment of the current leadership in China to continuing on the reform path and improving the overall business environment.
China remains by far the first sourcing market of FTA members accounting for more than 50% of fast-moving consumer goods, although imports have recently seen a trend towards decline. At the same time, China continues to gain in importance for European retailers and brand companies as an investment location.