China aims to use EU-China Investment Treaty as a vehicle to play catch up with European technological ingenuity

While Beijing wants to benefit from European technology in biopharmaceuticals, robotics and upgrade its industry it routinely uses its national security concerns and cyber security regulations to erect trade barriers.

Ahead of the EU-China Investment Treaty, a top European business lobby in China has urged Beijing to “walk the talk” on free trade and globalization.

At the summit, expected to start on Thursday and end on Friday, European officials will be pressing China for increased market access for its companies.

Although Chinese President Xi Jinping has voiced many words to say that the country will open its economy to European countries, negotiations for EU-China investments started way back in 2013. Despite 13 rounds of talks, EU officials have urged to Beijing to move forward and reduce entries in its “negative list”.

“We want to be very ambitious. We would like to see a conclusion within 12 months. That means that very early we need to get to an offer for a negative list,” said Mats Harborn, the president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China.

“We would like to see that China walks the talk,” said Harborn to reporters at a briefing on the chamber’s annual survey on the business climate in China.

He went on to add, “The negative list, we want it as short as possible. Single digits when it comes to restricted industries.”

It would appear China has talked a lot but hasn’t acted sufficiently on its talk to open its market. It has instead widened its exports to Europe.

In a survey, the European Chamber of Commerce, issued a “wake-up call to the whole of Europe” over growing competition from Chinese firms.

As per the results of the survey, 60% of respondents felt by 2020 Chinese companies will most likely close key gaps in their innovations. In contrast, European companies face heightened discrimination, and uneven environmental enforcement in China citing Chinese national security policies.

European Companies have little confidence in China’s short-term reform agenda, said the European Chamber of Commerce. While 15% of respondents felt regulatory barriers are likely to decrease in the next five years, 40% felt they are likely to increase.

Foreign companies are often harassed and entrapped by growing Chinese national security and cyber security regulations which are not only very broad in scope, they are also used to erect market barriers.

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