• The Financial District


The European Union (EU) and China are not expected to hammer out an investment deal at all after the EU demanded that China liberalize its investment climate, stop suppressing Uighurs and the people of Hong Kong and end its cabbage strategy to snatch 90% of the South China Sea (SCS).

Writing for Asia Times, David Hutt said the investment deal has been pending for the past seven years as China has refused to acknowledge its failure to liberalize its domestic market and insisted that the EU stop meddling with its internal affairs like those in Hong Kong and Xinjiang and cease criticizing Beijing’s continuing encroachment of the territorial waters of Southeast Asian countries like the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and even Indonesia. Both sides only talked via teleconference and achieved nothing much.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has also been roasted for threatening retaliation against the Czech Republic, whose officials visited Taiwan, and accused of arrogance as he and his diplomats have slammed European countries for their “weak response” to the COVID-19 pandemic that started in Wuhan City in the Hubei province of China. Despite its propaganda, China has yet to produce a vial of vaccine against COVID-19 after its supposed “excellent” handling of the pandemic. As for Chinese President Xi, he was equally keen to impress upon his own people that he was as assertive as possible during the talks and no relationship with Europe would diminish either China’s economic position or its own sovereignty. “There is no universal path for human rights development, and no single best way to protect human rights,” Xi reportedly told the EU leaders. “I believe Europe could find good solutions to its own problems. China doesn’t accept a lecturer on human rights.”

A European Commission statement stressed that “EU emphasized that more work was urgently needed on the issues of rebalancing market access and on sustainable development.” The EU has been making this argument for almost three years, so nothing appears to have been moved further along the line by the talks. On the plus side, the EU is at least being consistent. Indeed, back in January, the bloc’s former trade chief Phil Hogan warned that “meeting halfway will not work for the EU.” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said as much after the video conference, telling reporters that “China has to convince us that it is worth having an investment agreement.” She added: “We need China to move.” The buzzword from the Europeans is “reciprocity”. They want Beijing to open up its markets as freely for European investors as European markets are for Chinese investors.

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