The EU is China’s biggest trading partner. The EU mainly exports machinery and equipment, motor vehicles, aircraft and chemicals to China. Trade in services between the EU and China only amount to 10% of the total trade in goods. Both entities trade well over €1 billion per day.
China increasingly uses country-specific standards which foreign companies can hardly meet in order to access the Chinese market. In addition, China imposes a set of export restrictions (export quotas, export duties, etc.) to limit the access to rare earths for companies outside China. These restrictions were challenged in front of the WTO Appellate Body and the WTO confirmed that China needs to bring its export regime in conformity with its WTO obligations.
In November 2013, the EU and China launched negotiations for a comprehensive EU-China Investment Agreement. It should provide for the progressive liberalisation of investment and the elimination of restrictions for investors to each other’s market.