China wanted to punish EU countries for banning Huawei

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Beijing’s negotiators had sought to punish EU countries that limit and block access to Chinese telecom companies such as Huawei.

This development was in view of the recent business investment deal signed by the European Union and China following seven years of talks,

But the EU thwarted Beijing’s plan to insert a clause to that effect into the final document, according to a draft text of the agreement obtained by dpa on Monday.

China, according to the document, wanted to reserve the right to deny the benefits of the partial opening of its telecom sector to investors from countries “that block or arbitrarily discriminate against Chinese telecommunication enterprises in law or policy.’’

That passage, found in a Dec. 11 draft text, was ultimately crossed out.

The European Commission and China announced on Dec. 30, that they had struck a deal on a comprehensive investment agreement.

Both sides are still finalising the text of the deal, with legal details still to be hashed out.

The agreement must also be approved by EU member states and the European Parliament, a process that could last several months.

Considerable resistance against the deal has emerged, with critics saying it does not give Brussels enough power to address concerns about human rights and labour practices in China.

Incoming U.S. President Joe Biden’s team has also expressed reservations, saying it would be better if the U.S. and Europe were reading from the same playbook in regards to China, amid fears the deal could help Beijing drive wedge in trans-Atlantic relations.

The agreement would offer European companies access to previously closed or tightly regulated Chinese markets and ease Chinese investment in Europe.

It would also set out provisions for a level playing field to prevent state assistance from undercutting competition, and sustainable development provisions.(dpa/NAN)

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