EU-China FTA: to Manage and Improve EU-China Trade Relations? Bin YE Jean Monnet Fellow, Robert Schuman Centre, EUI, Florence Associate Prof., Institute
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EU-China FTA: to Manage and Improve EU-China Trade Relations?
Bin YEJean Monnet Fellow, Robert Schuman Centre, EUI, FlorenceAssociate Prof., Institute of European Studies, CASS, Beijing
Florence, 31 July 2015
Chinas FTA NetworkCurrently, China has 19 FTAs under construction, among which 14 Agreements have been signed and implemented already.China's Free Trade AgreementsChina-ASEAN FTA, China-Pakistan FTA, China-Chile FTA, China-New Zealand FTA, China-Singapore FTA, China-Peru FTA, Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic and Partnership Arrangement, Mainland and Macau Closer Economic and Partnership Arrangement, China-Costa Rica FTA, China-Iceland FTA, China-Switzerland FTA;China-Korea FTA, China-Australia FTA.
Free Trade Agreements under NegotiationChina-GCC(Gulf Cooperation Council) FTA, China-Norway FTA, China-Japan-Korea FTA, RCEP, China-ASEAN FTA Upgrade Negotiations, China-Sri Lanka FTA
Free Trade Agreements under ConsiderationChina-India Regional Trade Arrangement Joint Feasibility Study; China-Columbia FTA Joint Feasibility ; China-Maldives FTA Joint Feasibility Study; China-Georgia FTA Joint Feasibility Study; China-Moldova FTA Joint Feasibility Study
Cited from http://fta.mofcom.gov.cn/english/index.shtml on 31 July 2015
China, Trade with World
Chinas ambition to accept high standard trade rulesChina has expressed its ambition to accept new trade rules. The continuous steps to prepare to adapt high-level trade and investment rulesIn 2013, China expressed a desire to join TISA.2.0 version of BIT talks with the USA and the EUTo entirely amend Chinese foreign investment lawShanghai Pilot FTA Zone with gradually shorten negative sector list, and other provincial FTA Zones ; Catalogues of Industries for Guiding Foreign Investment was recently cut.The current China FTAs is approaching to being the new generation of FTA. The China-Korea FTA and China-Australia FTA will be reviewed for upgrading.The China-South Korea FTA includes areas such as finance, telecommunications as well as so-called twenty-first century new issues related to the environment, labour and competitive neutrality. The China-Australia FTA also stipulates market access, investment and trading rules and related standards.
EUs lukewarm reaction to Chinese FTA ProposalThe trade chapter in PCA negotiation between the EU and China has been actually shelved.
Since 2012, China has turned to propose an FTA with the EU. However, so for EU reactions to the Chinese proposal have been only lukewarm.
The EU is regarding whether the ongoing EU-China BIT can be achieved as a condition to further consider a so called deep and comprehensive FTA.
Why China need an FTA with the EU?China needs new trade and investment rules to deepen and promote its domestic reform. Although some standards in the new generation of EUs FTA are too high for China, with the slower economy becoming New Normal and the industrial upgrading in China, those sustainable clauses such as environment protection, IPR protection, competition neutrality, and labour protection which might be implemented under some condition will play positive and significant functions for Chinas sound growth in the future.
China needs to engage in the new round of trade rules making. The EU is supposed to be the best potential partner to negotiate a high-level, high-quality and balanced trade FTA.
Potential Impacts to China and EU-China RelationsThe new trade rules have the functions to restrain the governments power to intervene the economy. A high level EU-China FTA would also promote the rule of law in China.
According to a preliminary study, an ambitious EU-China FTA could give a boost to annual trade of up to nine per cent which could reach 0.89 trillion by 2020.
To manage trade relations under an EU-China FTA
To manage trade relations under an EU-China FTAAlternate channel to resolve bilateral trade disputes The dispute settlement mechanism in an FTA could provide alternate channel to resolve bilateral specific trade disputes. Such clauses as Consultations, Mediation Mechanism and Establishment of the arbitration panel in NAFTA Chapter 19 process, the EU-South Korea or the proposal TTIP text can be modelled by the future EU-China FTA.
The WTO- extra and WTO-plus clauses introduced to satisfy the major concerns of European Companies and Chinese CompaniesThe major problems concerned by European companies on China include the IPR problem, public procurement market, non-tariff barriers and market access. The most concerned problems by Chinese companies on Europe include technical trade barriers, complicated EU level and national legal system and rules, and market access as well.
The ongoing EU-China BIT talkChina committed to give the EU investors pre-establishment national treatment and to use negative list approach to open investment market (BIT 2.0).Pre-establishment national treatment commitment means China will abandon its thirty years old investment approval system. MOFCOM is soliciting comments to entirely amend Chinese foreign investment law.Negative list approach will prevent authorities from setting up new market threshold. negative measure list negative sector listRegarding to ISDS in the BIT, it seems both sides are going to inform the existing arbitration system by introducing an appeal system in the future.
ConclusionChina has ambition to accept high level trade rules to promote its transforming. European style trade rules or European standards would engage Chinas reform.
An EU-China FTA would benefit both sides. For China, it would be a catalyst to deepen economic reform, a guard for its free and fair market economy and an instrument for improve rule of law.
EU might lose the best timing to react for Chinas FTA proposal, if China-Japan-Korea FTA came back and China was going to seek alternate partners.