ChinaTalk with François Godement (Senior Advisor for Asia, Institut Montaigne)


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On December 30, 2020, China and the EU signed a long-anticipated Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI), which had been negotiated since 2014. According to many commentators, the deal was announced in haste. On the one hand, Germany was eager to sign the Agreement before the end of its presidency in the Council of the EU, and on the other hand China was anticipating unfavorable shifts in US policies, which the incoming Biden administration could bring. Although it is still a long way before all conditions of the EU-China cooperation under CAI are finalized and ratified, a wave of criticism has been growing in Europe, pointing out that the deal does not do much in terms of securing a “level playing field” in the economic relations between the two partners.

In our conversation with Professor François Godement of the Institut Montaigne, Paris, we discussed, in broad terms, the idea of fairness and reciprocity in the EU-China economic dealings, and we wondered whether the CAI is a move in the right direction. Professor Godement, one of Europe’s leading experts on China and CAI in particular, commented also on the role of the EU in China’s economic policies and practices, and on the engagement versus rivalry dilemma that Europe’s politicians are facing, in the context of China’s economic rise and the growing US-China economic tensions. The meeting was hosted by Associate Professor Marcin Jacoby, Department of Asian Studies at SWPS University at SWPS University, and Zbigniew Niesiobędzki, Ph.D., President of the Polish-Chinese Business Council - a partner of the ChinaTalk series.

During the interview we answered questions such as:

What were the biggest changes in China and its relations with the EU from 2012 until today?

Will the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) bring more damage or profit for the EU?

What is the Chinese perspective of the CAI?

What could be the possible tool for creating a more even market between the EU and China?

What is the impact of CAI on Trans-Atlantic relations?

What is the level of understanding China among the decision makers in the EU?

What is the current state of France’s bilateral relationship with China?

What are the perspectives of China for the next few years?

“ChinaTalk” is a series of interviews with leading global experts on China and East Asia, produced jointly by the Polish Chinese Business Council (PCBC) and SWPS University. Interviews are hosted by PCBC President, Mr. Zbigniew Niesiobędzki, and Professor Marcin Jacoby, Head of the Department of Asian Studies at SWPS University. ChinaTalk brings you the latest knowledge on the economy, social issues, management, and politics of China and East Asia. Our guests interpret the current developments and trends in the Chinese economy, and predict global, regional and bilateral outcomes of political decisions. Chinese relations with the European Union, and Poland in particular, constitute an important context of these discussions. The expert insights provide valuable input for business practitioners, analysts, as well as researchers and students interested in macroeconomics and global trade. For more ChinaTalk materials visit:

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