China-EU CAI will be beneficial for both parties, world: MOFCOM
Published: May 27, 2021 04:45 PM
Gao Feng, spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce, at a press conference in Beijing on Thursday Photo: Li Qiaoyi/GT

Gao Feng, spokesperson for China's Ministry of Commerce, at a press conference in Beijing  Photo: Li Qiaoyi/GT

China's Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) said on Thursday that the China-EU Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) is a mutually beneficial deal that will benefit the EU and the world, in response to a recent announcement by the European Parliament over freezing parliamentary debate on the deal.

In responding to media questions, MOFCOM spokesperson Gao Feng said that China and the EU are important economic and trade partners with close business exchanges in a wide range of areas of cooperation, and a pattern of intertwined interests has been formed.

The European Parliament has decided to freeze ratification talks for the CAI. The agreement has "justifiably been frozen" because of Chinese sanctions, which are countermeasures to European sanctions on China over Xinjiang-related affairs, according to a statement the European Parliament press office sent to the Global Times on May 20.

Despite the pandemic and a complex world, the spokesperson told the press conference in Beijing on Thursday that China-EU trade has continued to grow and two-way investment has increased steadily, which fully demonstrates the resilience and vitality of China-EU economic and trade cooperation.

Following the joint efforts of both sides, China-EU trade reached $250.3 billion in the first four months of this year, up 42 percent year-on-year. In the same period, the EU's actual investment in China reached $1.95 billion, up 12.4 percent, while China's direct investment in the EU reached $1.69 billion, up 70.8 percent, Gao noted.

Despite the fruitful achievements in bilateral trade, the CAI -- which went through a text review stage after negotiations were completed at the end of last year -- was recently frozen by the European Parliament.

Meanwhile, there have been rising claims that China-Europe relations are headed off a cliff, which some analysts said were made by a number of politicians who are deeply embedded with ideological conflicts and have illusions about the US, and these people cannot represent all of Europe.

Chinese top leaders and officials also offered their insights on how to manage the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and the EU, in face of both opportunities and challenges, and warned against politicizing trade issues.

Chinese President Xi Jinping had a telephone conversation with Spanish Prime Minister Juan Manuel Sanchez on Wednesday, saying that the key to China-EU relations in the future is to keep to the general direction of the comprehensive strategic partnership and properly manage differences.

The Spanish government said in a statement that Sanchez told Xi that he was confident a consensus could be found on ratifying a long-awaited investment treaty with China, adding that Spain could play a constructive role in strengthening China-EU relations.

Chinese officials have reiterated on many occasions that the CAI is a balanced and win-win agreement, not a gift from one party to the other, and one that serves the interests of both.

China's Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao said during his talks with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian during an online meeting on Tuesday that he hoped France would play a positive role in promoting the signing and entry into force of the CAI at an early date.

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