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After seven years and 35 rounds of negotiations, the EU and China have finally agreed for a Comprehensive Agreement in Investments (CAI). Compared to bilateral investment treaties, the CAI will put in place a single EU-China investment framework. As both the EU and China are economic heavyweights, the economic and strategic significance of the deal cannot be underestimated. The CAI is not an FTA. But it will serve an important tool to open Chinese market for EU companies. Despite all the talk of ‘geopolitical’ EU and a common transatlantic front against assertive China, the deal has once again shown that what matter most to its member states is economics. Some EU countries may also like to project it as a sign of their strategic autonomy from the US. Moreover, CAI linked with recently signed RCEP is such an opportunity, which the EU could not ignore easily. With prospects of liberal investment opportunities in a lucrative Chinese market, ‘decoupling’ from China narrative will become weaker in Europe. The EU not naïve about timing and political significance of the deal. However, despite labelling China as a ‘systemic rival’ and ‘economic competitor’, Brussels does not want to be on the wrong side of a rising power. The CAI deal rather shows that it is ready to take advantage from an emerging geopolitical dynamics in the Indo-Pacific.


About the Speaker

Prof. Gulshan Sachdeva is Jean Monnet Chair; Coordinator, Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence and Chairperson, Centre for European Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. He is also Editor-in-Chief, International Studies (SAGE) and Book Series Editor on Europe-Asia Connectivity (Palgrave Macmillan). He has been consultant with the ADB, ILO and the Asia Foundation. His research is focused on European integration, India’s external engagements, Eurasian connectivity, Afghanistan, Indian Northeast and development cooperation. Some of his recent publications include Challenges in Europe: Indian Perspectives (Palgrave Macmillan), India in a Reconnecting Eurasia (Washington: CSIS) and Evaluation of the EU-India Strategic Partnership and the Potential for its Revitalization (Brussels: European Parliament). He has been visiting faculty at many European universities (Antwerp, Corvinus, KU Leuven, Trento, UPF Barcelona and Warsaw etc). He holds PhD in Economics from the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest.


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