Beijing, Dec.30, 2020 Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday had a discussion with European leaders as a landmark investment agreement between China and the European Union is expected to be reached after seven years of negotiations.
Xi spoke via video conference to French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen, state broadcaster CCTV said.
China and the EU have been ironing out the details of an investment agreement that would offer European companies access to previously closed or tightly regulated Chinese markets.
It will ensure a level playing field for European and domestic firms in China and ease Chinese investment in Europe.
Under the deal, China agrees to pursue steps to ratify two International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions on forced labour, according to an internal document released Monday by the Commission to member states.
According to the paper, China has agreed in principle to open markets such as new energy vehicles, private healthcare, financial and cloud services to European investment.
“The negotiated result is the most ambitious outcome that China has ever agreed with a third country,’’ the document said.
The agreement appears to be reaching completion as China this year surpassed the United States as the EU’s top trading partner.
The China and EU bilateral trade in the first nine months reached 516.8 billion dollars, overtaking the U.S and EU’s 501 billion dollars’ worth of trade.
Critics say the deal will complicate U.S. president-elect Joe Biden’s plans to reinstate partnerships with European allies and further rein in China’s influence.