BRUSSELS — A landmark trade and investment pact sealed by the EU and China in recent years is effectively dead.
On Thursday, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, who is in Beijing to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping, gave her strongest signal yet that the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) deal is dead in the water as the pact had not even been discussed.
“The Comprehensive Agreement on Investment did not come up,” she told a press conference following her meeting with the Chinese president. “You know our position. We started negotiations round about 10 years ago and concluded the comprehensive agreement on investment two years ago. A lot has happened since then,” she said, including deterioration in market access for EU companies in the Chinese market.
Von der Leyen had made similar comments last week in a keynote speech on China in Brussels, saying the EU needs to “reassess” the pact.
“Our position is that we do have to reassess the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment,” she said Thursday.
The CAI was agreed between the EU and China in December 2020, with strong support from France and Germany, though it provoked criticism from the incoming Biden administration in Washington at the time. The agreement was put on hold in 2021 after China sanctioned several EU lawmakers.