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China-EU investment agreement could face headwinds

China EU investment agreement may face resistance

Even as the European Union and China signed the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) after more than seven years of negotiations, concerns over the agreement remain. Several quarters have raised doubts over the agreement, which Beijing touted as a major victory.

A report published in the Bangladesh based Daily Sun said that “concerns have been raised over labour rights issues in China and the deal – which still needs final approval – may not get past European lawmakers.”

The deal, which has to be ratified by the European Parliament, is set to be further tweaked with legal and technical alterations. While the EU wants the process complete by early 2022, there could be resistance over China’s controversial labour laws, the report noted.

“It is expected to face intense resistance from some European lawmakers, while international unionists – who say the pact will do nothing to stop human rights abuses or protect labour rights in China – have vowed to ramp up pressure over the deal,” the report said.

China has come under the spotlight for its treatment to the Uighur Muslims. Human Rights Watch has pointed out how millions of Uighur Muslims have faced discrimination and surveillance in China. Reportedly about 1 million Uighur Muslims are held in detention camps in China.

“Getting China on the same page as Europe by agreeing to honour key international labour conventions has been a major sticking point for the agreement,” the newspaper pointed out.