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All EU member states back China investment deal, sources say

China and the European Union could reach a landmark investment deal this week, with the 27 countries in the trade bloc unanimously approving the agreement despite earlier reservations, the South China Morning Post has learned.

The deal would give Beijing much-needed diplomatic breathing space as US president-elect Joe Biden prepares to forge stronger ties with European partners to confront growing Chinese assertiveness.

Under the deal, European businesses would enjoy a more privileged investment environment in China than their American counterparts, according to trade specialists.

An EU diplomat with knowledge of the discussions said that on Monday representatives of the EU member states were briefed by EU negotiators who had “reported on recent positive developments in the negotiations with China including on labour standards”.

The representatives “broadly welcomed the latest progress in the EU-China talks”, the diplomat said. It remains unclear what commitments Beijing has made on the sticking point of forced labour, an issue raised by several EU member states in relation to state policies against Uygurs and other minority ethnic groups in China’s far western region of Xinjiang.

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