This December 2020, Brussels and Beijing has finally come to an agreement and finalized their seven year long negotiations of assuring thhe Comprehensive Agreement on Investment deal to be finished. This was done on a video conferencing call between Xi JinPing and EU officials, encouraged and marked by German Chancellor, Angela Merkel.
This is an important aspect impacting the rest of the world economy because the EU is the world’s largest economy and according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, “The European Union has the largest single market in the world. We are open for business but we are attached to reciprocity, level playing field and values.” The Commission also relayed that the deal was one of “major economic significance,” promoting sustainable development and improve market access for EU investors across health, financial services, and electric vehicles sectors.
Merkel also pushed this deal and the priority would be to serve obligations on Chinese state-owned enterprises, which were heavily subsidized. However, this doesn’t rest well with the US administration and Jake Sullivan, who has been appointed as National Security Adviser by President-elect Joe Biden recently said they “would welcome early consultations with our European partners on our common concerns about China’s economic practices”. Last year the European Union called China a “strategic competitor” and a “systematic rival” and even Biden said earlier this year, proclaiming Xi to being a “thug” who doesn’t have a “democratic …bone in his body”.
The problem is the trade practices of businesses and society living — for example, China hasn’t addressed things such their oppression of ughyurs and other religious minorities which have shown to have been used for slave labor among other human rights abuses and its commonalities. The trade deal has China committed to working towards meeting the requirements of international rules banning forced labor, but that may not be enough.
It remains to be seen if China can actually follow through and do what is right, pertaining to human rights and freedoms and the international community of observing and practicing these rules.