The CAI – A Story of EU-China Powerstruggles and Misunderstandings

This Interview addresses the delicate topic of the CAI (Comprehensive Agreement on Investment) between EU and China. Negotiated for years, preliminary agreement surprisingly reached at the End of 2020 only to enter rounds of internal Debates in the EU Parliament. On October 6, 2021 a Summit will address its future.
He is a Foreign Law Expert with the School of International Law, China University of Political Science and Law (CUPL), in Beijing, and also a Research Associate with the University of San Francisco School of Management, China Business Studies Initiative (CBSI). 


The Story of the CAI reminds me of a crime novel – negotiated for years, preliminary agreement surprisingly reached at the End of 2020 only for it to enter rounds of internal Debates in the EU Parliament, suggestions that it is negative for the EU versus very optimistic voices.

This week on October 6, 2021 Slovenia will host an extraordinary EU Summit to discuss Relations with China and also address the future of the CAI.

This part of the Interview focuses on:

1) What the CAI means and its Background
2) What the Contents are
3) Wh
y it has been Stalled.
4) The Opportunities for the EU
5) Why it would be a huge loss to cancel it. 

Background Info from the European Commission:

On 30 December 2020, the EU and China concluded in principle the negotiations on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI). The agreement grants EU investors a greater level of access to China’s market.

In the agreement, China has committed to ensure fairer treatment for EU companies, allowing them to compete on a more level playing field in China. These commitments cover state-owned enterprises, transparency of subsidies, and rules against forced technology transfer.

China also agreed to provisions on sustainable development, including commitments on climate and forced labour.

Both sides agreed to continue the negotiations on investment protection and investment dispute settlement, to be completed within two years of the signature of the agreement.

 More Info:

Belt and Road Initiative UN Sustainable Development Goals
  • Professor Don Lewis is a highly distinguished scholar with decades of insight into Chinese Law and Politics. His academic track record includes:
  • Former U.S. Fulbright Law Professor to China (Zhongshan and Nankai Universities, Canton and Tianjin, respectively)
  • Former Visiting Associate Professor, Stanford Law School
  • Former Associate Professor, The University of Hong Kong Faculty of Law;
  • Former Academic Coordinator, WTO Asia Pacific Regional Trade Policy Course (RTPC) Program – for the governments of Asia Pacific (including China)  
  • Former United Nations Consultant & Advisor – especially on e-trade facilitation and e-commerce
  • Former Director, Microsoft-HKU Asia Pacific ICT Research Network (ICTRN)

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