On December 30, 2020, after seven long years of negotiations, China and the EU concluded in principle the negotiations for a Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI). The frayed political and trade relations with the US, as well as Brexit, convinced the EU members to put aside objections related to human rights violations and close the deal with China, now their major trade partner. The Chinese, hard pressed to offset the 2020 diplomatic set-backs, including the mishandling of the initial Covid-19 crisis, the Xingjian labor camps issue, and the Hong Kong crisis, and in need of alternatives to their strained relations with the US, were willing to make concessions — including some key provisions concerning China’s forced technology transfer.
If really and properly implemented by China, those provisions could advantage EU businesses against their US competitors. We review the provisions, compare them to similar commitments recently made by China with the US, and assess their possible impact on EU and US IP holders in China. Continue Reading