Towards a New Leadership in Global Investment Governance?
Edited by Julien Chaisse
Chapter 4: EU-China economic relations: interactions and barriers
Market access barriers remain important in China in most of the listed sectors. It has not been really possible to test the real political willingness of China to open further through bilateral or plurilateral trade and investment negotiations: China had expressed an interest in entering into negotiations in the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA). The TISA negotiations started in 2013 but are currently stalled due to the uncertainty created by the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. China was also entering into the final phase of the negotiations of a bilateral investment agreement with the US, but they also have been stalled and it is not clear whether the new US administration will be willing to resume them both. As a result, the negotiations of the EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement are the real test for the Chinese authorities. The business community would aim at the removal of all equity caps, with negotiated exceptions. Business will also look at getting more commitments in professional services, which include lawyers, auditors and accountant, architects and engineers, etc., in telecommunication services, in postal and express services, and in the various financial services sectors (banking, asset managements, insurance). For instance, it is expected that the negotiators will try to remove or reduce these following existing equity caps and joint venture requirements: so far, foreign stakes are limited to 50 per cent in value-added telecom services (excepting e-commerce); 49 per cent in basic telecom enterprises; 50 per cent in life insurance firms and 49 per cent in security investment fund management companies.
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