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Parliamentary questions
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25 March 2021
Question for written answer  E-001692/2021
to the Council
Rule 138
Laura Huhtasaari (ID)
 Answer in writing 
 Subject: Rejection of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment on account of the human rights situation in China and the unsatisfactory nature of China’s obligations under the agreement

The EU’s stated objective is to promote a values-based trade agenda. For this reason it is questionable as to whether the EU should conclude the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment with China, which, according to human rights experts, is in violation of the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide in its treatment of the Uyghur minority. On 22 March 2021 China responded to the human rights-related sanctions imposed by the EU because of the Uyghur situation with its own counter-sanctions, which apply to several Members of the European Parliament and one of its committees. China has furthermore effectively ended Hong Kong’s special status by passing a new security law that is in breach of the agreement it made with the United Kingdom on preserving Hong Kong’s special status until 2047.

Under the Agreement on Investment, there is no commitment from China to be party to all the international treaties and agreements on the rights of workers. That being the case, in the future China will trample on workers’ rights and will not address the issue of forced labour. The EU-China Agreement on Investment will do nothing to address the imbalance that exists between China and the EU in market access. The forced technology transfers demanded of European companies as a condition of market access, for example, will not end. In the matter of State aid, the Agreement on Investment does not adequately address the fact that the Chinese State gives Chinese companies an unfair competitive advantage in the form of huge amounts of State aid.

Concluding the Agreement on Investment with China at a time when the country’s human rights situation is deteriorating, with the end of Hong Kong’s special status and the treatment of the Uyghurs, sends the world the wrong message. Europe cannot throw its values overboard because of economic considerations. Nor does the Agreement on Investment guarantee European companies the same sort of access to the Chinese market that Chinese companies have had to European markets for a long time now.

Is the Council prepared to propose that the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment between the EU and China be rejected on account of the human rights situation in China and the unsatisfactory nature of China’s obligations under the agreement?

Original language of question: FI
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