Discussion: EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI): What’s in it for Europe and China and the road ahead

25 May 2021

Photo credit: European Commission (2020) 

Time: 10:30 – 12:00 (CET)/16:30 – 18:00 (Beijing time)

Organized by Institute of European Studies of Macau (IEEM) in collaboration with Fortunious Society (Macau), NEOMA Business School and The United Nations University Institute on Comparative Regional Integration Studies (UNU-CRIS)

After the announcement of the signature of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) between the EU and China on December 30, 2020, the actual text of the agreement has been released on January 22, 2021. The negotiation of the CAI started in 2013 and is aimed at establishing a level playing field, promoting sustainable development and broadening market access for European companies. Although some parts of the agreement are still missing or in the negotiation, e.g. investment protection, both the EU and China highly promoted the agreement as a millstone achievement in the Sino-European relationship. CAI was agreed at the political level between China and the EU, but it still requires the ratification of the European Parliament to be legally adopted. 

  • Could the CAI be seen as an achievement to further opening the market access for European companies in China?
  • Could the CAI be effective in creating a level playing field in EU-China business relationship, especially regarding transfer of technology and state subsidies?
  • Could the CAI be effectively implemented to promote sustainability in development regarding labour and environmental issues?
  • What could be the impact of CAI on the strategy and operations of European and Chinese companies in their cross-border operations?

The roundtable will bring several leading experts from the European parliament, universities, think-tanks and business associations to answer the above questions and to assess strategic and business importance of CAI. We are especially interested in exploring opportunities and challenges related to the CAI for European and Chinese companies in their cross-border operation, competition, and cooperation and well as deepening relations between EU and China.


10:30  Welcome message by José Luís de Sales Marques, President of Institute of European Studies of Macau (IEEM) (Chair)

10:35 Keynote speech by Margarida MARQUES, EP member 

10:50 Roundtable discussion by 

Paulo Canelas de Castro, Professor at University of Macau 

Bernard Dewit, President of Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce

Shada Islam, Founder of New Horizons Project and visiting professor at College of Europe

Carmen Amado Mendes, President of the Macau Cultural and Scientific Center in Lisbon, Professor of Coimbra University

Haiyan Zhang, Professor at NEOMA Business School

11:40 Q&A session

11:55 Conclusion by Prof. Glenn Rayp, UNU-CRIS and Ghent University

12:00 End of the Webinar conference


Paulo Canelas de Castro

Paulo Canelas de Castro, on a protracted leave from the Faculty of Law, University of Coimbra, Portugal, is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Macau (Macau, China), where he currently holds a Jean Monnet Chair on European Union Law in the Global Context. He also serves in the Board of Directors of the Institute of European Studies of Macau and in the European Union Studies Association-Macau, of which he was a founder. Additionally, he is also a Member of the International Law Association. His research and writings focus on International Law and European Union Law and he stands as member of the editorial board of several outlets in these fields. He has acted as Counsel for Governments and International Organisations in international cases and before International courts.

Bernard Dewit

As Chairman of the Belgian-Chinese Chamber of Commerce since 1996, Mr. DEWIT has been involved in many China related events, missions of Belgian delegation to China and meetings with Chinese delegations in Belgium.

Graduated in law from the Catholic University of Leuven, Mr Dewit is lawyer at the Brussels Bar since 1978 and senior partner of Dewit Law Office, a Belgian Law firm with representative office in Beijing since 2009. Mr Dewit is an accredited foreign arbitrator for China International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission (CIETAC), for Shanghai International Economic and Trade Arbitration Commission, as well as for Shenzhen Court of International Arbitration in China.

Mr. Dewit is also a founding member and the General Secretary of Europe China OBOR Culture & Tourism Development Committee.

Mr Dewit was awarded the Friendship Prize by the central Chinese government in 2017.

Shada Islam

Shada Islam is a respected and well-known Brussels-based commentator on European Union and Asian affairs who now works independently as an advisor/analyst/strategist and commentator on Europe Africa Asia Geopolitics Trade and Inclusion.

She runs her own Brussels-based global media, strategy and advisory company, New Horizons Project.

Before that, Shada worked for nine years as Director of Europe and Geopolitics at Friends of Europe, an influential independent think tank based in Brussels. She set up FoE’s very successful Asia Programme and Europe-China Forum.

Shada is currently Senior Advisor at the European Policy Centre as well as at BCW, an international consultancy. She is Non-Resident Fellow at the Centre for Global Development, a Visiting Professor at the College of Europe (Natolin) and a Solvay Fellow at the Vrije University Brussel (VUB).

In 2017, Shada was selected as one of the 20 most influential women in Brussels by the magazine Politico.

Margarida MARQUES

Member of the European Parliament since the 2019 European elections. In parliament, she has since been serving as Vice-President of the Committee on Budgets. In this capacity, she is the parliament's co-rapporteur of the European Union's Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) for 2021–2027. She is also member of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs and of the Committee for International Trade.

In addition to her committee assignments, Marques is part of the parliament's delegations for relations with China and the Parliamentary Assembly of the Union for the Mediterranean.

Before joining the EP, Margarida Marques was member of the Portuguese Parliament where she was Vice-President of the Commission on European Affairs among other major parliamentary responsibilities. She also worked for the European Commission between 1995 and 2015 and was Head of the EC Representation in Portugal between 2005 and 2015.

She served as the Secretary of State for European Affairs in the XXI Constitutional Government of Portugal, between 2015 and 2017.

She is a member of the National Committe of the Socialist Party (Portugal) and Secretary-General and founder of Juventude Socialista. (Young Socialist).

She has a degree in Mathematics by faculty of Sciences, University of Lisbon and a master Degree in education by the Faculty of Educational Sciences by the Faculty of Sciences and Technology, Nova University of Lisbon.

José Luís de Sales Marques

José Luís de Sales Marques is President of the Board of Directors of the Institute of European Studies of Macau (IEEM) since 1st January 2002. He was born in Macau.  

Sales Marques was born and raised in Macau, and he holds a degree in Economics awarded by the University of Porto (Portugal), and a Master degree in European Studies by University of Macau with a thesis on China-EU relations. Mr. Marques is also teaching at post-graduate programs in Macau and Europe dedicated to international politics, economic development and urban issues. He is in charge of the course on EU-Asia Relations of the Master of Social Sciences in European Studies (MSSEUS).

He researches, teach and writes about international politics, urban issues and economic development.  His current research is focus on multilateralism, Macau’s external relations, the Grand Bay Area and Belt and Road Initiative.

He served as president of the Macau Municipal Council between 1993-2001. He is the current president of the Council for Macanese Communities, Jazz Club of Macau and board member of several other civic associations and the Portuguese School Foundation of Macau.

Carmen Amado Mendes

President of the Macau Scientific and Cultural Centre. Associate Professor of International Relations with tenure, accredited at the School of Economics of the University of Coimbra, where she established the course “China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries in World Trade”. Former head of the International Relations department and coordinator of the School of Economics International Office at the same university. Holds a Ph.D. degree from the School of Oriental and African Studies – University of London, a Master degree from the Institute of Higher European Studies – University of Strasbourg, and a Bachelor degree from the Institute of Social and Political Sciences – University of Lisbon. She was a Post-doctorate scholar at the Institute of Political Studies of the Portuguese Catholic University of Lisbon and visiting professor at the University of Macau, the University of Salamanca and the University of Lyon. She was a board member of the European Association for Chinese Studies, and the organizer of the 2014 EACS conference in Coimbra; and president of the International Relations Section and member of the board of the Portuguese Political Science Association. Principal Investigator at the University of Coimbra on a research project on the role of Macau in China´s relations with the Portuguese speaking-countries, funded by the Portuguese national funding agency for Science, Research and Technology; and on a project on South-South Cooperation for the Europe China Research and Advice Network, supported by the European External Action Service. Auditor of the Portuguese National Defense Institute. Co-founder of the consulting company ChinaLink, and of the Observatory for China in Portugal. Author of China and the Macau Negotiations, 1986-1999 (HKUP) and China’s New Silk Road: An Emerging World Order (Routledge), as well as other publications available for consultation at: www.uc.pt/feuc/carmen

Glenn Rayp

Professor in International Economics at Ghent University and UNU-CRIS. 

He is a former member of the (Belgian) High Council of Finance and the High Council of Employment, as well as the (Flemish) Council of Industry. From 2010 to 2015, he coordinated the FWO research community on Globalisation, Regionalisation and Economic and Social Inequality (GRESI) of which UNU-CRIS was a member.

In his most recent research on regional integration, he was involved in the development of composite indicators of regional integration and the analysis of the relationship between regional integration and institutions. He is part of the team that is updating and re-developing the RIKS platform of UNU-CRIS.

Haiyan Zhang

Dr. Haiyan Zhang is associate professor at NEOMA Business School and director of the NEOMA Confucius Institute for Business. He holds a MA and a Ph.D. in public administration and Management from the University of Antwerp.

His research interests include international business activities of Chinese and overseas Chinese owned enterprises, management issues of international joint ventures in transition economies, high-tech industrial agglomeration in China, Chinese outward FDI in Europe, EU-China FDI relations, etc. He has published in journals such as the Management International Review and has contributed to books on foreign direct investment in China and the internationalisation of Chinese multinational enterprises.

He has consulted for trade associations, government institutions and multinational companies on various topics, such as US direct investment in Belgium, strategic management of bilateral cooperation with Chinese local authorities, merger and acquisition in China, etc. He has often participated in high level debates about EU-China investment relationship at EU institutions and think tank organizations. He has been also interviewed by a large number of Chinese, Belgian and international newspapers and Radio and TV channels, such as People’s China, Trends, New York Times, China Radio International, Euro News, European Parliament TV, etc.

This event will take place online. Register here.

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