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European Parliament Freezes Ratification of China Investment Treaty
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – OCTOBER 20: european flags fly in front of the Berlaymont. The building of the European Parliament on October 20, 2020 in Brussels, Belgium. Bars and restaurants in Brussels have been ordered to shut for a month in a bid to curb rising Covid-19 cases. Belgium has recorded an average of 7,876 new daily infections over the last seven days, a 79% rise on the previous week. (Photo by Jean-Christophe Guillaume/Getty Images)
The lopsided agreement, which ostensibly aims to level the economic and financial playing field by providing European companies with improved access to the Chinese market, actually allows China to continue to restrict investment opportunities for European companies in many strategic sectors. The deal also lacks meaningful enforcement mechanisms for issues that the EU claims to care about, such as climate change and human rights, including forced labor.
“China has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to use its economic power as a strategic weapon. By deepening their economic reliance on China — without coordinating their policy with fellow democracies — European nations are increasing their vulnerability to pressure from Beijing. That is a remarkably shortsighted decision to make.” — Gideon Rachman, Financial Times, January 4, 2021.
China contends that its sanctions are tit for tat — morally equivalent retaliation — in response to those imposed by Western countries. In fact, the European sanctions are for crimes against humanity, whereas the Chinese sanctions seek to silence European critics of the Chinese Communist Party.
“China cannot and will not be tamed. It will not adhere to the rule of law. It will not give up on its uncouth wolf warriors. It will not change its debt trap diplomacy. It will not end the weaponization of political systems, in this case the fault lines of democracies, to smother democracies. If it is counter sanctions today, it will be intellectual property theft tomorrow, and 5G data surveillance of free citizens next. Under Xi Jinping, China has become a hydra-headed monster.” — Gautam Chikermane, Indian foreign affairs expert, Observer Research Foundation, May 21, 2021.
“While halting the ratification of CAI is good, scrapping CAI altogether would be better.” — Andreas Fulda, German China scholar, May 20, 2021.