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EU/China Investment Treaty: EDP wants clear and firm guidelines

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Soazig de la Moissonnière

The Committee on International Trade (INTA) of the European Parliament adopted this morning by a large majority a resolution on the European Commission's mandate to negotiate an investment treaty with China. This treaty, which must secure European investment, is a long-standing request of Marielle de Sarnez, member of the INTA Committe, whose many amendments serve as guidelines for the treaty.

"These negotiations should be an opportunity to establish a balanced relationship with China. Today the lack of reliability of the Chinese legal system is a constant threat to many European companies, many of whom have already paid the price. There are also regulatory barriers that exclude European companies from a large party of the Chinese public procurement market. The mandate should therefore ensure that both market access and legal protection of investments are guaranteed. In this regard, it is important that bilateral dispute settlement mechanisms be used, rather than international arbitration, whose terms are not satisfactory. "

"In these negotiations, the issue of intellectual property rights will of course be central. Certainly, China has made tremendous progress in terms of legislation to enforce IPRs but much remains to be done to ensure that the laws in this domain be put into practice. We hope, moreover, that this protection will extend to trademarks and geographical indications. Of course, in accordance with the EU Treaties, public services and cultural and audiovisual services should remain excluded from the mandate. "

"China is a State economy where a number of players of international stature are public companies, notwithstanding the existence of powerful sovereign wealth funds. It is therefore essential that the negotiations result in an agreement in which Chinese public companies investing in Europe must follow the rules of good governance and transparency set by the OECD. "