US elected President Joe Biden Desperate with the European Union (EU) decision to forge a Comprehensive Investment Agreement with China over the US objections . The Biden team issued a statement after the deal was sealed on Wednesday. It said “the Biden-Harris administration is looking forward to consultations with the EU to decide a common position on China’s unfair economic behavior and other challenges.”
A team official said that only after Biden assumed the presidency would the new administration say more about the EU-China agreement. Last week, Biden’s nominated national security adviser Jake Sullivan told the EU to wait until the Biden administration came to power to reach a settlement with China.
But in a video conference on Wednesday night, the leaders of the EU and China confirmed the agreement. Chinese President Xi Jinping and EU chief Ursula van der Lien also attended the conference. After the implementation of this agreement, it will replace the nearly a dozen bilateral agreements that the EU member states have entered into with China.
The outgoing Donald Trump administration took a tough stance towards China. At the same time, he was stepping unilaterally. It had also adopted a stricter approach to trade with the EU. Trump and Deputy National Security Adviser Matthew Pontinger strongly criticized the EU and China’s trade talks. He said that the EU is ignoring human rights violations of Uygar Muslims and other groups in China’s Xinjiang province. The Trump administration also imposed sanctions against several Chinese officials.
The EU and China’s investment agreements provide that China will abide by international labor standards and environmental protection goals. But Pontiger has said that China is building factories in millions of square feet in Xinjiang where forced labor will be done. In such a situation, it is naïve to think that he will follow labor standards. A US State Department official told local media that the US would ask the EU to ensure the promises made by China to the agreement.
It will take time for the implementation of the EU-China agreement. Prior to this, approval of this agreement is required in the European Parliament. Some analysts are of the view that there may be problems, as a part of the EU is also opposed to China. Nevertheless, the conclusion of the agreement is a setback for the US. Risk consultancy agency – Eurasia Group analyst Emre Pekar told the Hong Kong newspaper South China Morning Post that Biden had proposed an alliance between the EU and the US in the case of China. But this agreement will now cause difficulties in this work. After this step of the EU, many people in America will argue that it is appropriate for America to take unilateral steps in the case of China.
Pecker said that the term of the European Council was to end on 31 December. Therefore, both major advocates of the deal – Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel – showed additional proactivity to complete the deal this year. Xi made some additional concessions and Merkel stepped forward and joined hands. Former US Trade Representative Wendy Cutler has said that the deal will not affect the cooperation of the US and the EU in the case of China, but the situation will certainly become more complicated. Now the EU will have to stand in defense of the deal from the European Parliament. That is, it will have to remain silent on the unfair treatment of China in trade, technology and investment matters.
Fellow Wenchi Yu of Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government in the US has expressed the opinion that the agreement to access the Chinese market with China’s promises on environmental and labor standards is not bad. But the question is how will China ensure its promise. In the past he has been breaking such promises. Other analysts say that the outcome of the deal will be revealed, it will be known later. At the moment, it has caused disappointment in America. This can be considered a victory of China.