Speaking in a plenary debate on EU-China negotiations for a bilateral investment agreement, GUE/NGL MEP Helmut Scholz has underlined that the agreement must have a “positive meaning” for both partners.

“Our resolution on the Commission's mandate for negotiating an investment agreement between the EU and China, which would replace all existing bilateral agreements between EU Member States and China, clearly expresses the expectations and concerns of the Parliament on this issue,” said Scholz.

He continued: “As co-rapporteur, I have paid particular attention to the fact that not only the type of protection for investments is clearly defined, but also that investors' obligations are enshrined into the agreement, particularly when it comes to respect for provisions concerning trade unions and workers' rights, transparency and environmental protection.

“In addition, the cultural sector is to be excluded from the scope of the negotiations.”

He added: “We must also ensure that the agreement does not provide investors with a mechanism to sue governments before an arbitral tribunal. My group rejects this and instead wishes to emphasise the role of the ordinary courts in our judicial systems, as well as state-to-state dispute settlement and mediations. The Chinese side also prefers and supports this approach.”

Scholz also described recent cases of corporate arbitration panel lawsuits in Canada as a “wake-up call” for the EU, reiterating that “our court systems should not be bypassed”.

Scholz concluded: “The vote on this issue in the Trade Committee was very close. Tomorrow in plenary the Parliament will decide on this by roll call vote.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group

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