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EU investment deal with China formally frozen until sanctions are lifted, after landslide vote

The resolution passed by 599 votes in favour, 30 against with 58 abstentions.

Image: Shutterstock/Alexandros Michailidis

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has voted to formally freeze discussions on ratifying the EU-China investment deal as long as Chinese sanctions against MEPs are in place.

The resolution passed by 599 votes in favour, 30 against with 58 abstentions.

According to the motion, the parliament, which must ratify the deal, “demands that China lift the sanctions before Parliament can deal with the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, without prejudice to the final outcome of the CAI ratification process”. 

The resolution also states that other trade and investment agreements with regional partners, including Taiwan, should not be held hostage by the suspension of the CAI ratification.

MEPs warned that the lifting of the sanctions would not in itself ensure the deal’s ratification, with the motion calling for the European Commission “to consult with Parliament before taking any steps towards the conclusion and signature of the CAI.”

The deal was agreed in principle last December to address “the economic imbalance” in the trading blocs relationship following seven years and 35 rounds of negotiations. 

Defenders of the pact see it as a much-needed opening of China’s economy for European companies, but its path to ratification was derailed due to escalating political tensions over China’s human rights record.

Sino-EU ties are at a low point thanks to the volley of tit-for-tat sanctions over human rights concerns. The EU sanctioned four Chinese officials in March over suspected human rights violations in China’s far western region of Xinjiang.

China responded by imposing its own sanctions against European politicians, scholars and research groups.

Chair European Parliament’s Delegation for Relations with the People’s Republic of China Reinhard Bütikofer said the CAI is definitely in the freezer.

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“China miscalculated and shot themselves in the foot,” the German MEP, who is among the five MEPs sanctioned by China, tweeted

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