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Coronavirus threatens EU-China investment deal

EPA/ROLEX DELA PENA
Joerg Wuttke, President of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, delivers a briefing on a new report on the increased overcapacity in China's industrial economy at the Four Seasons hotel in Beijing, China, 22 February 2016. According to a statement from the European Chamber, it's report titled 'Overcapacity in China: An Impediment to the Party's Reform Agenda' provides recommendations to address problems of ineffectual efforts by China's government in resolving excessive production capacity in its industrial economy.

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The EU Chamber of Commerce in China has warned that striking an EU-China investment deal in 2020 is under threat because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Joerg Wuttke, the president of the chamber, said that “the virus is highly irritating” and that “it is going to be a real challenge to close the gaps”, partly because the delegates will not travel to hold the negotiation rounds. Last year, EU and China agreed to conclude the deal in 2020, but the progress was slow even before the outbreak, which has rattled stocks markets.
In the last round of talks, both sides discussed the disciplines applicable to state-owned enterprises, sustainable development, notably on climate, and labour related provisions. EU officials said that the Chinese vice-prime minister, Liu He, is scheduled to visit Brussels later this month for an Economic dialogue but his visit is still unconfirmed to the outbreak.
Wuttke stressed that the European companies “really want” the investment deal, but stressed that for the businesses, it is more important to get a “good” deal than to conclude it in time.
Since Europe labeled China as a strategic rival in March, the EU has stepped up its pressure on Beijing to address “unfair” trade and economic practices. European companies called on the bloc to toughen its approach to China, as business organizations complained that the country was the most restrictive of all of EU’s trading partners.

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