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The 4th Policy & Practice Roundtable will focus on the potential of EU-China cooperation as a driver for progress and prosperity in an age of increased uncertainties. This annual Roundtable brings together about 30 Chinese and European scholars, think-tank representatives, policymakers and business representatives for an open, lively and stimulating debate on EU-China relations in a rapidly changing world. By invitation only, the meeting is held under the Chatham House rule to ensure a frank exchange of views.

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IMAGE CREDIT: chuyu/Bigstock


15.00 – 15.30 Welcome and registration of participants

China and the EU are boosting efforts to build deeper connectivity in a number of ways including through synergies linked to China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and the European Fund for Strategic Investments. The EU-China Connectivity Platform, established in 2015 to create synergies between EU policies and projects and the BRI, is already working on promoting cooperation in infrastructure, encompassing financing, interoperability, logistics, and maritime and rail links across the Eurasian continent. But connectivity is not just about transport and infrastructure links – it’s also about establishing strong networks between institutions and in areas such as education, science and technology as well as through trade, business, security and culture. A focus on innovative areas such as smart cities, e-health, intelligent transport, energy, and the Internet of Things (IoT) is also crucial for European and Chinese businesses as they take full advantage of the new possibilities and opportunities of BRI.

  • After the success of the Belt and Road Forum in May, how does China intend to keep up the momentum of global support for the Belt and Road Initiative?
  • How can China and Europe work in tandem to tackle some of the security and geopolitical challenges facing BRI?
  • What are the different projects and ideas which should get special attention when discussing EU-China connectivity?
  • How can China and Europe work together on digital connectivity?
  • What progress has been made so far in encouraging more people-to-people contact between China and Europe, particularly among the youth?

Moderated by: Shada Islam, Director for Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe

17.00 – 17.30 Coffee break

Trade and investment relations are central to the multi-faceted EU-China relationship, despite friction over issues like the application of Article 15 of the WTO on China’s market economy status and issues linked to global steel oversupply. China’s overseas direct investment is surging regardless of weak global growth, as Chinese companies continue to internationalise their business. According to one estimate, combined Chinese direct investment in the advanced economies of North America and Europe more than doubled in 2016 to a new record of about US $94.2bn. However, regulators and sellers of Western assets are putting Chinese buyers under increased scrutiny, prompting some deals to fall through, while European companies – despite their continuing interest in Chinese markets – complain of restrictions on their investments in China.

  • What industries are Chinese companies investing in and who is spending more – state-owned or private companies?
  • Why are many European countries reluctant to open their markets to Chinese investors?
  • Are European companies right in demanding reciprocity in EU-China investment relations and will negotiations of a Bilateral Investment Treaty help to ease these concerns?
  • Could the successful negotiation of the investment accord pave the way for talks on an EU-China free trade agreement?
  • Given the changed geopolitical economic landscape, is it time for an EU-China FTA?

Moderated by: Shada Islam, Director for Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe


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