Not too early for EU and China to start FTA talks

Updated: 2016-04-26 07:42

By Fu Jing(China Daily)

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Not too early for EU and China to start FTA talks

The Centre of European Policy Studies, the European Union's leading think tank, issued a report recently outlining reasons why Beijing and Brussels should launch free trade agreement talks.

The opinion of most experts is in line with that of the team led by Senior Research Fellow Jacques Pelkmans at the CEPS.

However, there have been voices claiming that although it would benefit both sides to reach a deep and comprehensive free trade deal, it is too early to take action right now.

Their arguments range from whether to give China market economy status to dealing with terrorism and the migrant crisis and economic challenges.

Apart from that, they say Brussels is busy talking with Beijing to reach bilateral investment agreement and it is more willing to conclude and ratify this agreement first before entering into free trade talks.

Compared with Brussels' reaction, Beijing has been more proactive and it has been actively pushing for such talks.

When President Xi Jinping paid his first visit to European Union headquarters in Brussels as Chinese president two years ago, he raised the idea that both sides should do feasibility study for talks on a free trade agreement.

And when Xi visited the United Kingdom last year, China and the UK agreed to push such talks at the Beijing-Brussels level.

Pelkmans' team says in its report that Brussels has slowly got used to China's urgency, which stated in its recent foreign policy update that entering free trade agreements with its partners tops its agenda.

Is it really too early for Brussels to engage with Beijing and kick off free trade talks?

The answer is no.

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