The second issue of the FTA Trade Perspectives focuses on trade-related matters in China, major sourcing country for FTA members that features quite prominently in the headlines on major trade-related issues. Positively, on 18 October the European Council approved the launch of investment talks with China, only a few weeks prior to the 16th EU China Summit that took place in Beijing on 21 November.
However, this positive development is in stark contrast with other reports on China. The collapse in late November of negotiations that sought to expand the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Information Technology Agreement (ITA) was imputed to China's desire to exempt a lengthy list of products from the ambit of this agreement.
A similar absence of ambition has been invoked by those parties currently negotiating the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) to block China from joining the negotiations. Yet, it is clear that China is serious in pushing its service industry as a key instrument in shifting the economic makeup of the Chinese economy. In this issue, we have tried to put these developments into perspective. To gain a clearer picture of the impact of these trends on businesses, we have also interviewed John Russell, Managing Director of North Head, a strategic PR and communications consultancy.