The Chinese Foreign Ministry has confirmed that negotiations are nearing a conclusion between Brussels and Beijing as the two parties look to reach a new arrangement on investment and trade.
Speaking on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told reporters he believed a new China-EU investment agreement could be reached before the end of the year.
“At present, the negotiation has entered the final stage. I believe that as long as the two sides take care of each other’s concerns and meet each other halfway, the negotiation goals set by the leaders of both sides can be achieved,” Wang noted.
He added that, despite the pandemic, delegates had held 10 rounds of negotiations on the China-EU Investment Agreement throughout the year and made important progress.
Also speaking on Friday, a German government spokesman said China appeared more committed to reaching a deal and that clinching an agreement by the end of the year was the goal.
An EU official who spoke to Reuters suggested a deal was close after a push from Germany, Europe’s biggest exporter to China.
The official contended that a deal would address a “lack of balance” in existing trade agreements which already allow China broad access to the EU’s market of more than 450 million people.
Another EU official based in Beijing told Reuters that they were less optimistic, claiming that China was asking for “impossible things.”
“They are asking for openings for Chinese investment in Europe in sectors that are not open to anyone such as energy, water treatment, public utilities.”
Meanwhile, China is locked in a trade conflict with the US and Australia, with the parties placing reciprocal sanctions on the other’s goods and services.
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