Published 5 September 2017
The recent surge in Chinese investment in Europe and China's approach to EU Member States via OBOR-related investment have raised anxiety and even resulted in a political backlash from the EU and several Member States. This could largely be attributed to the role of Chinese state-owned investors (SOIs) played in overseas investments and in the domestic economy. With the support of the OBOR initiative and 'going global' policy, a majority of SOIs' investment has been made in strategic assets and critical infrastructure, while European firms have had limited access to the Chinese market. Instead of over-focusing on the state ownership of SOIs, the EU calls for reciprocity in market access and fair treatment for European investors, while China intends to ensure non-discriminatory treatment and a continued open market for Chinese SOIs. The China-EU BIT therefore provides the right platform to discuss and address issues of SOIs related to Chinese overseas investment. The liberalisation of market access, and treatment and protection for SOIs would be important factors and key points in BIT talks. However, it is also challenging for China and EU to reach a consensus. The EU's reaction to Chinese investment and its interest in participating in the OBOR depend on not only the outcome of the BIT negotiations, but also the progress in Chinese domestic reform, which is also in the interests of China.
This paper will be part of the TDM Special Issue on "One Belt One Road (OBOR)". More information here: https://www.transnational-dispute-management.com/news.asp?key=1652