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February 2021

The CAI Effect: Upending the Notion of a Systemic Rivalry With China?

Last December, the European Commission concluded negotiations on the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) with China. The agreement, which has yet to be ratified,  started a heated debate in Europe and the United States with many voices in the policy community raising objections to it. The advocates of the CAI present the agreement as a smart "strategically autonomous" solution to help rebalance and address asymmetries in the EU-China economic relationship. They also stress the European gains in terms of market access and Chinese promises. Its opponents argue that the CAI does "too little, too fast", that it undermines the prospects for transatlantic cooperation on China policy and that it endorses China’s goal of substituting declarative statements to substantial structural changes.

To evaluate the gains and the losses of the agreement for the European Union and discuss its impact on the EU’s position on the global stage, Institut Montaigne and the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) are hosting an online event on 16 February 2021 at 3:30pm CET.

This event follows the publication of Wins and Losses in the EU-China Investment Agreement (CAI), a policy paper by François Godement, Institut Montaigne’s Senior Advisor for Asia.


Discussions will be introduced by Łukasz Jurczyszyn, Director of PISM Brussels Office, and Mathieu Duchâtel, Director of Institut Montaigne’s Asia Program.

Session 1: Wins and losses – the CAI balance sheet for Europe

Chair: Sławomir Dębski, Director, the Polish Institute of International Affairs

  • Reinhard Bütikofer, MEP, Group of the Greens, Chair of the Delegation for Relations with China
  • Anna Fotyga, MEP, European Conservatives and Reformists Group
  • Marie-Pierre Vedrenne, MEP, Renew Europe Group, Vice-Chair of the Committee on International Trade

Session 2: CAI consequences for EU-China and transatlantic relations

Chair: Georgina Wright, Head of the Europe Program, Institut Montaigne

  • François Godement, Senior Advisor for Asia, Institut Montaigne
  • Maria Martin-Prat, Chief Negotiator for the CAI; Director, Asia, Services and Digital Trade, Investment and Intellectual Property, DG TRADE, European Commission
  • Miguel Otero-Iglesias, Senior Analyst, the Elcano Royal Institute
  • Justyna Szczudlik, Deputy Head of Research, the Polish Institute of International Affairs

Discussions will be live streamed on The Polish Institute of International Affairs’s YouTube account.


Copyright photo: JOHN THYS / AFP

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