There has been much debate in Europe about the content, value and effects of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), signed between China and the EU, on the eve of the New Year 2021. As of now, the document with annexes is far from being finalized, and even further from being ratified by each of the EU member states. With the new American President in office and prospects of closer transatlantic cooperation in dealing with China, the EU’s CAI negotiations have been put in a different context. We interviewed one of the EU’s negotiators of CAI, Mr. Jyrki Katainen, the former European Commission Vice-President for Jobs, Growth, Investment and Competitiveness (2014–2019).
We asked him to present the EU’s priorities that were paramount at the start of the CAI negotiations with China 7 years ago, and tell us whether these priorities have been achieved and what were the ups and downs of the negotiation process. We asked about the importance of CAI in the EU relations with China, and its significance in the process of rebuilding the transatlantic relations. More specifically, we pondered whether it is possible to achieve an unanimous EU agreement, and why CAI omits the issue of goods and services trade with China. The meeting was hosted by Associate Professor Marcin Jacoby, Department of Asian Studies at SWPS University at SWPS University, and Zbigniew Niesiobędzki, Ph.D., President of the Polish-Chinese Business Council – a partner of the ChinaTalk series.
During the interview we answered questions such as:
- What was the perception of China as a business partner for the European Commission at the early stages of negotiating CAI and how it evolved over time?
- What was the motivation on the Chinese side to engage in the lengthy negotiations with European Commission?
- When can we expect the final version of the agreement?
- How did the EU member countries approach the signing of the agreement?
- Were the political issues affecting the perception of EU countries on the agreement?
- What were the most difficult issues during the negotiations?
- Is the EU as attractive now for foreign investments for China as it was a few years ago?
- Will China try to bypass some of the American policies through cooperating first with Europe?
- Are the EU-China relations becoming indispensable for Chinese rise in the global economy?
- Could Central and Eastern Europe be interesting for Chinese investors?
- What is the relationship between China and Finland regarding technology?
“ChinaTalk” is a series of interviews with leading global experts on China and East Asia, produced jointly by the Polish Chinese Business Council (PCBC) and SWPS University. Interviews are hosted by PCBC President, Mr. Zbigniew Niesiobędzki, and Professor Marcin Jacoby, Head of the Department of Asian Studies at SWPS University. ChinaTalk brings you the latest knowledge on the economy, social issues, management, and politics of China and East Asia. Our guests interpret the current developments and trends in the Chinese economy, and predict global, regional and bilateral outcomes of political decisions. Chinese relations with the European Union, and Poland in particular, constitute an important context of these discussions. The expert insights provide valuable input for business practitioners, analysts, as well as researchers and students interested in macroeconomics and global trade. For more ChinaTalk materials visit: https://www.swps.pl/strefa-zarzadzania/chinatalk