18/10/2013 - Foreign Affairs Council (FAC)
Council approves mandate to start negotiating investment agreement with China
The Foreign Affairs Council on 18 October 2013 focussed on EU trade issues, including mandates for investment agreement negotiations with China and with ASEAN countries
Ministers approved a mandate for the Commission to start negotiating an investment agreement with China on behalf of the EU. An EU-China investment agreement will, among other things, improve the protection of EU investments in China and reduce barriers to investment in China. This will help increase investment flows between the EU and China, and improve access to Chinese markets. Negotiations on the agreement should be completed within 2.5 years.
The Council also approved an updated mandate allowing the Commission to open negotiations on investment protection provisions with the ASEAN countries. This will be carried out as part of on-going free trade negotiations with the ASEAN countries (specifically Malaysia, Vietnam and Thailand).
China is now the EU's 2nd trading partner, behind the United States, and the EU is China's biggest trading partner.Every day, China and Europe now trade well over €1 billion.
- EU imports from China are dominated by industrial and consumer goods, such as machinery, footwear, clothing, furniture, lamps and toys
- EU exports to China are concentrated on machinery and equipment, cars, aircraft and chemicals.
However, China accounts for just 2-3% of overall European investments abroad, whereas Chinese investments in Europe are rising, but from an even lower starting point.
Other topics on the agenda
This meeting of the Foreign Affairs Council also looked at:
- preparations for trade aspects of the Eastern Partnership Summit, taking place in Vilnius on 28-29 November 2013;
- the EU's strategy and preparations for the forthcoming WTO ministerial meeting in Bali on 3-6 December;
- Chinese anti-dumping measures on wine;
In preparation for informal discussions, or 'trilogues', with the European Parliament, ministers also discussed a proposed regulation to establish a legal and financial framework for investor-state dispute settlement proceedings.