Brussels: The European Parliament is expected to pass a motion on Thursday pushing to formally freeze the European investment agreement with China in the wake of sanctions on EU lawmakers by Beijing.
According to Politico, the draft motion also calls on the European Union (EU) to step up coordination with the US to deal with China. It also stresses that any trade deals with Taiwan “should not be held hostage” by the deal with Beijing.
If passed, the vote is expected to deal a further blow to initial expectations that the deal — seven years in the making and aimed at opening up the Chinese market — could enter the ratification process in a few months’ time.
Politico reported that the draft was backed by the biggest political groupings. The EU Parliament will vote to urge that “any consideration of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment, as well as any discussion on ratification by the European Parliament, have justifiably been frozen because the Chinese sanctions are in place.”
It will also demand that “China lift the sanctions before dealing with CAI, without prejudice to the final outcome of the CAI ratification process,” and says Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) expect the European Commission “to consult with Parliament before taking any steps towards the conclusion and signature of the CAI.”
The text further calls on the Commission to “use the debate around CAI as a leverage instrument to improve the protection of human rights and support for civil society in China.”
On concerns about forced labour in Xinjiang, the Parliament’s motion will reiterate “its request that the Commission and the European External Action Service swiftly finalise a supply-chain business advisory with guidance for companies on the exposure to risk of using Uyghur forced labour and providing support in urgently identifying alternative sources of supply.”
Relations between the European Union and China have taken a sharp turn for the worse, due to tit-for-tat sanctions imposed by Beijing and Brussels.
Early this year, Brussels had announced sanctions against officials involved in China’s gross human rights violations against its ethnic Uyghur minority in its northwest Xinjiang region.
Beijing retaliated with its own sanctions on 10 EU individuals and four entities, including five MEPs.