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2020-09-10 | All chapters

European Chamber Stresses Urgency for Reform, Calls for Bold Commitments on EU-China Investment Agreement by Year’s End

Beijing, China, 10th September 2020 - The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China today released its European Business in China – Position Paper 2020/2021 (Position Paper). This annual publication delivers to the Chinese Government over 800 detailed recommendations for improving the business environment, spread across 34 industry sectors and horizontal issues. The Position Paper details how persistent issues, such as limited market access and a complex regulatory environment, prevent European businesses from contributing fully to China’s sustainable development.

This significant amount of untapped market potential could help to not only boost economic growth, but also stave off serious problems that have for some time threatened China’s development, like its burgeoning debt situation and rapidly ageing population. While the European Chamber has been advocating for increased market access and a level playing field for its members for the past two decades, it is now critical for China to enact meaningful reforms due to the economic devastation wreaked by the COVID-19 pandemic and the looming threat of decoupling.

Although European companies remain committed to the market, a number of ‘dichotomies’ that have emerged in recent years raise questions over which direction China will eventually decide to move in:

  • The ‘one economy, two systems’ model, which divides the private and state-owned economies
  • The country’s economic potential versus its market access regime
  • The persistent divide between China’s rhetoric and the reality on the ground
  • The clash of China’s charm offensive towards European business and its ‘wolf warriors’ in Europe

These issues are further compounded by the increased politicisation of doing business in China. This is a serious factor that threatens business operations in ways that companies can neither predict nor control. European leaders currently still have the appetite for engagement, but public opinion in the Old Continent is souring on China: voters are voicing their concerns over the unbalanced economic relationship, allegations of forced labour in Xinjiang and the autonomy of Hong Kong. These issues present a real challenge for the EU and China to find an effective way forward before the window of opportunity closes.

It is therefore imperative that the EU and China strive for a political agreement on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) by the end of 2020. A half-baked deal that leaves the most critical issues unaddressed would be unwelcome and futile. Instead, it must deliver tangible results and secure open and fair markets on both sides to bolster the relationship and lay the groundwork for further productive engagement.

“Having inked bold economic agreements with numerous diverse partners in recent years, it is not revolutionary that the EU should expect a market that is as open and fair as its own when entering into such an agreement with China,” said Joerg Wuttke, president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China. “After more than 30 painful rounds of CAI negotiations, there’s a real sense that this is now or never.”

Please click here to download the report.

About the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China

The European Union Chamber of Commerce in China (European Chamber) was founded in 2000 by 51 member companies that shared a goal of establishing a common voice for the various business sectors of the European Union and European businesses operating in China. It is a members-driven, non-profit, fee-based organisation with a core structure of 34 working groups and fora representing European business in China. The European Chamber is recognised by the European Commission and the Chinese authorities as the official voice of European business in China.



北京, 中国, 2020910- 中国欧盟商会于今日正式发布了年度出版物—《欧盟企业在中国建议书2020/2021》(下文简称“《建议书》”)。《建议书》向中国政府提出了800余项有关改善营商环境的详细建议。建议不仅包括来自在华欧洲企业所涉及的34个不同行业的内容,也涵盖了跨行业的普遍性问题。与此同时,《建议书》就营商环境中长期存在的问题,如受到限制的市场准入和复杂的监管环境,是如何影响在华欧企为中国可持续发展做出全面贡献,作出了详细的分析。



  • 一种经济,两种模式:将私营经济和国有经济划分开来
  • 巨大的经济发展潜力与受限的市场准入的矛盾
  • 政府对经济发展的承诺与政策现实之间的落差
  • 中国对欧洲企业的吸引力和其在欧洲的“战狼”外交所产生的冲突



“近年来,欧盟曾与许多国家签署了多样的经济和贸易协定,因此,完成中欧投资协定并期待中国成为像欧盟一样开放和公平的市场并不是天方夜谭。”中国欧盟商会主席伍德克表示, “经过了三十余轮痛苦、漫长的《全面投资协定》谈判,现在是最后的机会了。”




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