EU and China begin investment talks

20 January 2014

The first round of negotiations for an EU-China investment agreement will take place in Beijing on 21-23 January 2014. A comprehensive EU-China investment agreement will benefit both the EU and China by ensuring that markets are open to investment in both directions. It will also provide a simpler, secure and predictable legal framework to investors in the long term. The EU sees an investment agreement with China as an important element in closer trade and investment ties between our economies. One of the EU’s priorities in the negotiations will be to remove barriers to EU investors on the Chinese market.

“The current level of bilateral investment between the EU and China is way below what could be expected from two of the most important economic blocks on the planet. Whereas goods and services traded between the EU and China are worth well over €1 billion every day, just 2.1% of overall EU Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is in China. The main purpose for these negotiations is the progressive abolition of restrictions on trade and foreign direct investment and to improve access to the Chinese market for EU investors”, said John Clancy, EU Trade Spokesman.

The negotiations start in the context of ambitious economic reforms recently announced in China. These include the decision to further open up China’s economy to foreign investors in order to boost innovation and competitiveness by having more advanced industries and services on the mainland.


Agreement to launch negotiations for an investment agreement was reached at the EU-China Summit of February 2012. In October last year, the EU’s Member States gave the European Commission a negotiating mandate and on 21 November the launch of negotiations was announced at the 16th EU-China Summit.

China is the EU’s biggest source of imports and has also become one of the EU’s fastest growing export markets with the EU now China’s biggest source of imports. China and Europe now trade well over €1 billion a day. 

EU imports from China are dominated by industrial and consumer goods with bilateral trade in services amounting to just one tenth of total trade in goods. Of the EU’s exports to China, only 20% are of services. 

Investment flows show great untapped potential, especially considering the size of the two respective economies. China accounts for just 2-3% of overall European investments abroad, whereas Chinese investments in Europe are rising, but from an even lower base. The comprehensive EU-China Investment Agreement aims to tap into this potential to the benefit of both sides.