Answer to Written Question: EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI): clarifications regarding Chinese compliance with environmental standards and workers’ rights.

(Source: European Parliament)



Answer given by Executive Vice-President Dombrovskis

on behalf of the European Commission


The EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) contains significant commitments on sustainable development enabling the EU to promote international sustainability standards. These span the areas of labour, environment and climate and include, among others, the obligation not to lower environmental and labour standards to attract investment.

China has agreed to effectively implement the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Paris Agreement on climate change. China has also committed to implement effectively the International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions it has ratified, to make continued and sustained efforts to pursue ratification of the ILO fundamental Conventions[1] on the abolition of forced labour and to respect the core ILO principles.

The EU will call on China to respect these commitments. The chapter on sustainable development is subject to a specifically tailored enforcement mechanism involving an independent panel of experts. CAI also establishes a working group to monitor the implementation of matters related to sustainable development.

CAI also provides for a robust state-to-state dispute settlement mechanism and institutional framework to monitor the implementation of the commitments. While CAI allows each side to take measures for security and public order purposes, reflecting the World Trade Organization (WTO) standard, possible abuses by China towards EU investors in the implementation of its foreign investment security review could thus be addressed through the Agreement’s monitoring and dispute settlement mechanism, if there is a breach of CAI. Furthermore, any breach of China’s WTO commitments can be also addressed with dispute settlement action under the WTO. 

[1] C029 – Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29); C105 – Abolition of Forced Labour Convention, 1957 (No. 105).

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