The European Union (EU) hopes to resume investment negotiations with China on Monday, as it receives calls from Chinese President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang.
Both sides began negotiations on an investment agreement back in 2014, which, Europe hoped, would ultimately provide European investors with easier access to the Chinese market.
The EU claims that European companies operating in China do not have the same levels of transparency and fair competition as those offered to Chinese firms in the European Union. However, the negotiators have not made significant progress, and there are questions if they reach an agreement by the end of the year, as planned.
The EU wants to “give a new political impetus” to its relations with China. This was announced by CNBC on Sunday by an EU official who did not want to be called due to the delicacy of the negotiations.
Ensuring a level playing field is a key objective of the European Union. To this end, the European Commission, the EU executive body, launched a process last week that could limit the activities of Chinese-supported companies in the EU.
“We need the right tools to ensure that foreign subsidies do not distort our market, just as we do with national subsidies,” Margret Westagher, European Commission Vice President, said last week.
The institute already controls the state aid provided by European governments to corporations, but it wants the same instrument to also control subsidies from foreign countries. This could be a problem for many Chinese giants such as Huawei, given its ties to the Chinese government.
The EU also wants to take stock of the Covid-19 pandemic, discuss China’s climate goals, security policies and human rights. In May, the European Commission said it had “serious concerns” about China’s plans to pass Hong Kong’s national security law.
The meeting takes place in a period of heightened tension in international politics and a public health emergency, which also led to an economic crisis.
The same EU official told CNBC that there would be no written statement between China and the EU on Monday that no specific measures would be taken.
The EU-China Summit is the first for Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, and Charles Michel, President of the European Council, who both took up their new functions last December.