The "China-EU investment treaty" symposium on 19 February 2016 at Trinity College Dublin brought together 50 leading academic, industry and policy-making experts. The symposium was co-organised by the China-EU School of Law and Trinity College Dublin. The experts intensively discussed the challenges of the current negotiations between China and the EU on a comprehensive investment agreement.
Wu Lijun, Political Counselor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China to Ireland, outlined the political framework, Hannah Levinger from Deutsche Bank and Prof. Jeremy Clegg form Leeds University outlined the potential economic impact of this treaty. Alexandra Koutoglidou from the European Commission reported that Beijing and Brussels have now agreed on the treaty’s future scope. In comparison with current bilateral treaties investors will especially profit from regulations on a widened market access. David Hallinan of University College Dublin drew a picture of the current treaty regulations between EU-member states and China. Prof. Kong Qingjiang from the China University of Political Sciences and Law (CUPL) dealt with attempts of a special treatment of state-owned enterprises, Prof. Wang Yong from CUPL gave insights into current investment disputes involving China. Prof. Björn Ahl, University of Cologne, discussed the impact of international treaties within the Chinese legal system. A practitioners’ session with Thomas Williams from Stewarts Law LLP, Eoin McDonnell from the Industrial Development Agency Ireland, David Herley von Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, and Joe Duffy von Matheson discussed how an International Investment Law Court, as suggested by the EU for the TTIP negotiations with the U.S., could work in reality. “The day’s intense discussions offered insights into the current state of negotiations of a comprehensive China-EU investment agreement and the challenges still lying ahead,” Prof. Hinrich Julius from the University of Hamburg said. Prof. Diarmuid Rossa Phelan and Prof. Louis Brennan from Trinity College Dublin summarised that this symposium should be seen as a continued effort by legal scholars to supplement the treaty’s negotiations.
This symposium was the fourth conference in the China-EU School of Law’s "International CESL Symposium Series" which aims at shedding light on China-EU legal issues. Chinese direct investment in Europe is continuing to grow rapidly. Last year, Chinese takeovers in the EU-28 reached a record volume of approximately €20 billion, equivalent to an increase of 44 per cent compared to 2014, according to the Mercator Institute for China Studies. The level of European investment in China on the other hand has actually been stagnating – or even dropping.
Text by Hinrich Julius and Ursula Zipperer
Translation by Li Lin
Photo by chungking/fotolia.com