Skip to content

The EU-China investment agreement is a disaster for the West

February 4, 2021

By Paul Homewood



New Europe slams the new EU-China Investment Agreement:



The EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement that was announced in December 2020 at joint virtual press conference between Ursula von der Leyen, Charles Michel, Xi Jinping, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron is a disaster for the western world. It fails to address human rights violations in China. It doesn’t tackle the problem of forced labour (slavery). It legitimises an authoritarian regime. And most of all, it won’t create the jobs for Europeans that it promises.

The Investment Agreement, which is yet to be made available to the public or Members of the European Parliament, is billed as being a vehicle to bring new investment from the People’s Republic of China to the European Union. Whilst on the surface this may seem fine, according to articles produced by those few who have seen the agreement, there are strings attached.

Chiefly amongst them is the insistence that the EU won’t force China to sign up to the International Labour Organisations convention on the use of forced labour. What this means is that the Communist Party in China will be given a blank cheque to continue using ethnic Uyghurs and Tibetans as forced labour across the country.

Recent evidence has demonstrated that the Chinese state has been taking the nearly 3 million ethnic Tibetans and Uyghurs that are currently held in internment camps and deploying them across the country (not just in their home regions) to be used as cheap forced labour. Often they are used for harder physical labour such as picking cotton or working in construction – without proper equipment or work breaks. Others have been taken and deployed in factories across the country to work in manufacturing. According to a report by the Australian government Uyghur labourers have allegedly been found working in the auto-industry for major European firms.

Both the United States and the United Kingdom have reacted swiftly to these accusations by enforcing a full ban on the import of agricultural goods, including cotton from China. As well as a ban on the import of goods produced under forced labour, with heavy fines for governments found guilty of using materials produced under these conditions. The European Union by contrast has not introduced any such ban.

Equally, the agreement does nothing to protect the rights of those Chinese workers who will be arriving in the European Union as part of the agreement. One of the many leaked clauses of the agreement states that an unlimited number of Chinese workers will be able to come to the European Union with their companies and stay for up to three years. A right not afforded to even Canadians, Brits or Americans. And yet the rights of Chinese workers already in the EU are questionable at best – a recent article written by former employees of Huawei exposed a corporate culture of worker suppression.

Chinese workers in one Huawei’s European offices work on separate floors from Europeans – regardless of seniority in the company. They are banned from having romantic relations with Europeans. Those who do risk be recalled to China, and if they refuse risk being fired. In one devastating account from Spain, a Chinese worker was fired from the company for taking time off to seek fertility treatment following a miscarriage. In effect, Chinese workers in Europe are already threatened into an isolated existence without interaction with European colleagues. Little has been done to address these issues, as trade unions have found that employees are too afraid to seek representation – citing concern for family back at home.

To add to this point, if Chinese workers are being brought over to work on Chinese investment projects, then at what level are jobs created for Europeans? Already in other parts of the world, we have seen what happens when Chinese companies move and bring their own employees. In South Asia and Africa, Chinese investment didn’t create new jobs for local workers, but rather created de facto colonial outposts staffed by workers brought in by the companies. In Sri Lanka, a promising new harbour built on the Southern Coast at Galle turned into a debt trap nightmare that has created a Chinese run port, built with Chinese money and staffed by Chinese citizens.

In addition to the concerns over the fabric of the agreement, there should also be more concern in Brussels over the impact that it will have on values. The European Union, by signing this Comprehensive Investment Agreement will also be signing a blank cheque for the Communist Regime in Beijing to continue its repressions against national minorities and democratic reformers. Far from sending a message that actions have consequences, it sends a message to the world that if you mistreat your people, repress them and undermine their fundamental rights, we won’t punish you, we’ll reward you with a trade agreement.

Its seems that the entire agreement is once again a case of the Emperor in the European Commission not having any clothes and the rest of Europe choosing to ignore it. The agreement that they are trying to ratify undermines every value that the European Union is supposed to stand for. It tears up the Charter on Fundamental Rights and legitimises the abuse of Christians, Uyghurs, Tibetans, Hong Kongers, pro-democracy advocate, ethnic Kazakhs and Uzbeks, many of whom currently sit in Communist Party-run internment camps.

It is unthinkable that the European Union would ever have done such an agreement with the Soviet Union, or Hoxha’s Albania, when so many people were locked up in Gulags and used for forced labour, and whilst so many remained without the freedom to assemble or speak openly. And yet these regimes followed the same authoritarian doctrines as those present in Xi’s China.

Why is it that today the European is willing to give up on its own values for the sake of a deal that won’t benefit everybody, and offers easier access for Chinese investment into Europe than the United Kingdom, United States, Japan, South Korea or Australia have? In its obsession with carving its own path, the European Union has chosen to turn its back on its democratic allies.

Rather than prioritise trade and investment with countries that share its values in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the United States, Australia, or the United Kingdom, it has instead chosen legitimise a regime that poses an existential threat to them. The European Commission should seriously reconsider its foreign policy priorities, and at the very least the European Parliament should reject this disastrous agreement.


It has been evident for a while that the hard up EU is desperate to get hold of Chinese investment, but I suspect part of this latest move is to get China onside with EU climate policy. If so, they are making a huge mistake, because China will simply carry on doing what is in its own interest.

Even Biden seems to have realised this. It is saying something when even Juncker is appalled:


JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER blasted the European Commission’s decision to sign what he called a "cheap" deal with China as he warned US President Joe Biden should have been consulted ahead of the agreement.

Speaking in Brussels at a virtual event organised by the German state of Baden-Württemberg, the former Commission president criticised Ursula von der Leyen‘s decision to sign a deal with Chinese President Xi Jinping that fails to force the Communist state to sign up to the International Labour Organisation.

Mr Juncker said: "I spent a very long time trying to conclude this investment agreement with the Chinese president, with the Chinese prime minister.

"And this always ultimately failed because of the question of whether the Chinese, as others have been, would be prepared to sign the International Labour Organisation conventions and bring them to life.

"We must not make any compromises on this."

  1. John Palmer permalink
    February 4, 2021 12:30 pm

    The EU & China (or, more correctly, the CCP) deserve each other!
    China has what the EU really wants – control of the Nation, and money.
    The EU will give support and credibility (??) to China’s so-called Green policies.
    A marriage from heaven. What could possibly go wrong…..

  2. Penda100 permalink
    February 4, 2021 1:09 pm

    1. Being nice to the crocodile in the hope that it will eat you last; or
    2. A natural next step in the Eu’s mercantilist economic policy.
    Not mutually exclusive of course.

    • February 4, 2021 9:15 pm

      My first thought was also of a crocodile: one that promises to carry you across a wide river.

  3. Gerry, England permalink
    February 4, 2021 3:45 pm

    Seems like the Chinese way of working is not that dissimilar to that of a certain major EU nation a few decades back.

  4. Robert Christopher permalink
    February 4, 2021 6:30 pm

    “The Investment Agreement, which is yet to be made available to the public or Members of the European Parliament …”

    EU (not European!) Parliamentary democracy at its finest!!! 🙂

  5. Robert Christopher permalink
    February 4, 2021 6:34 pm

    On a brighter note, the ‘Clean’ Chevy Volt:
    (a 69 second video) The punch line, as always, is at the end! 🙂

  6. It doesn't add up... permalink
    February 4, 2021 9:15 pm

    The thing is that China has already said that any criticism of its actions will entail withdrawal of cooperation on climate. In other words, its “pledges” are simply lip service. I have a feeling that the agreement fits into this tale I have been concocting:

    A group of hunters came back to the village. They reported that they had seen a pride of lions that might threaten the village. They were not sure: they might slink off again into the savannah. But a young child started screaming that the village was going to be attacked and they were all going to die. Mganga, the witch doctor was impressed by this outpouring, and saw an opportunity to secure power for himself. He proposed a programme of sacrifices to ward off the lions to the chief, Muku. Those who heard the screams of the young child were sufficiently persuaded to agree.

    At first it was just a few chickens, which those who celebrated feasted on. Then the witch doctor called for the sacrifice of the elderly, particularly those who through careful observation and hard work had built up a good understanding of the savannah, and how to reinforce the village stockade to guard against the lions. Unlike chickens, the bodies of the elderly were not to be feasted on, and instead they were dumped outside the village. That attracted the lions, and in turn the interest of the neighbouring village.

    They sent a party to investigate, and established the presence of the lions. Returning to their chief Busara, they held a meeting and determined they should strengthen their stockade, and noted that Mganga the witch doctor was so much in control of the minds of the people that they were destroying their livestock and leaving their maize untended. Eventually Muku the chief of the besieged village decided to have a parley with Busara the chief of the well stockaded village. He called for the stockade to be dismantled so that the lions would threaten both villages equally. Chief Busara agreed he would do this, but first Muku must send his villagers out to fight off the lions…

Comments are closed.

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: