The European Parliament today voted today on negotiations for an investment pact between the EU and China that could open up opportunities for British firms and unlock billions of pounds of inward investment.
Commenting, Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson said:
“Using the combined clout of the EU, we can make it easier for British firms to crack the Chinese market by opening up protected sectors and increasing legal certainty. Britain stands tall in Beijing when it stands tall in Brussels.
“This deal could also encourage billions of pounds of Chinese investment and create thousands of new jobs. China already invests more in the UK than anywhere else in Europe.
“But it’s important to remember that Chinese firms choose to invest here because we are part of the EU, the world’s largest single market. The message could not be simpler: in Europe, in work. That is why Liberal Democrats are the party of In.”
Notes to editors
The European Parliament today voted for a resolution outlining its position on an EU-China investment agreement. While negotiations on trade and investment deals are led by the European Commission, the Parliament must vote to approve any final deal. The Parliament is calling for the deal to include strong environmental targets and better protection for workers to bring China closer to EU standards. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/news/en/news-room/content/20131004IPR21516/html/MEPs-ask-to-improve-rules-for-EU-industry-operating-in-China
The Foreign Affairs Council will adopt its negotiating mandate on 18th October 2013. The European Commission is hoping to launch negotiations at the EU-China Summit on 21st November 2013.
The UK government has stated that is in favour of an ambitious EU-China Investment Agreement. In 2012 the UK was the most popular European destination for Chinese investors, attracting $2.8 billion of investment – an increase of 95% on the previous year. http://www.ukti.gov.uk/export/countries/asiapacific/fareast/china/premiumcontent/613420.html
Last week, a £650mn investment from a Chinese firm was announced to build a new enterprise zone in Manchester which will create an estimated 16,000 jobs.
Chinese investors have emphasised the importance of the UK’s EU membership. Wayne Zhu, CEO of Bosideng UK, commented that “a lot of other Chinese firms choose the UK as a base to address Europe as a whole. If the UK withdrew, those investors might think again.” http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/57bdca2e-cd27-11e2-90e8-00144feab7de.html