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On December 30, 2020, the European Union and China announced that they had reached a “comprehensive agreement” on investment. The deal is aimed at protecting and boosting foreign investment between the two regions, but it has been met with mixed reactions.

The EU-China trade relationship is one of the largest in the world, with over €1 billion worth of goods and services traded every day. However, the relationship has often been tumultuous, with both sides accusing the other of unfair trade practices and intellectual property theft.

The new deal, which has been in the works for seven years, aims to address some of these issues. The agreement includes commitments from China to remove restrictions on foreign investment in various industries, including electric vehicles and cloud services. China has also agreed to improve transparency in its subsidies and state-owned enterprises.

The EU, in turn, has made commitments to open up more of its markets to Chinese investors. The deal also includes provisions for the protection of intellectual property rights and dispute resolution mechanisms.

However, the agreement has faced criticism from some quarters. Human rights groups have raised concerns about China`s treatment of its Uighur Muslim minority and its crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. Some also argue that the deal does not go far enough in addressing China`s unfair trade practices.

Another concern is that the deal may undermine the relationship between the EU and the United States. The US has been engaged in a trade war with China for several years, and some fear that the EU`s new agreement will give China a competitive advantage over US companies.

Despite these concerns, the agreement is seen by many as a positive step towards greater economic cooperation between the EU and China. The deal is expected to create new opportunities for businesses on both sides and could lead to increased investment and job creation.

As with any trade agreement, the devil is in the details. It remains to be seen how the deal will be implemented and whether it will lead to a more balanced trade relationship between the EU and China. Nonetheless, the agreement is a significant development in the ongoing relationship between two of the world`s largest economies.