Chinese businesses in EU call for unbiased treatment, cooperation

An attendant walks past EU and China flags ahead of the EU-China High-level Economic Dialogue at Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, on June 25, 2018. (Photo: Agencies)

BRUSSELS -- Chinese companies operating in the European Union (EU) have expressed their concerns and called for a better business environment via a report published by their chamber on Thursday.

Brussels-based China Chamber of Commerce to the EU (CCCEU), which covers about 1,000 Chinese companies, published its annual recommendation report titled Acting for Common Future: Chinese Enterprises in the EU Striving for Growth amid Slowdown and Regulatory Hurdles.

The report concluded, based on a joint survey conducted by global strategy consulting firm Roland Berger, that Chinese companies in the EU currently have a less favorable view on the ease of doing business in the bloc, but are willing to increase investment if the environment gets better.

The CCCEU attributes the situation to, among others, the trend of market protection, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the trend of a spillover and politicized approach to cyber security issues as well as investment screening, which could dampen the expectation of some Chinese companies and investors.

In the report, the companies expressed their key concerns: the COVID-19 outbreak and its fallout, digital transformation and 5G security, barriers to enter Europe's green market, the EU's overlapping review system, and a better understanding of the EU market policies.

They also appealed to the EU to raise mutual trust with China, work to revive the global economy, prevent the health crisis from causing prolonged socioeconomic damage, and help prevent politicization of cyber security issues.

They called for dialogue and understanding with China to reduce overregulation, excessive screening, and all forms of trade and investment protectionism.

"It is our sincere hope that the EU work closely with China to conclude negotiations on the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) by the end of this year," said the report.

The CCCEU also recommended the establishment of a China-EU young business leaders dialogue mechanism, which will be an innovative platform for communication and mutual understanding.

"We propose eight recommendations for EU institutions with a view to encouraging dialogue and discussions and helping provide more Chinese companies with opportunities to access the EU market in a more balanced and reciprocal basis, which would eventually benefit the EU itself," the chamber said in the report.