‘Not a mistake’: German minister reacts to awkward timing of EU-China deal

‘Not a mistake’: German minister reacts to awkward timing of EU-China deal

German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier speaks to the media about the German government’s proposed new federal budget on March 23, 2020 in Berlin, Germany.

Christian Marquardt | Pool | Getty Images

LONDON — Germany’s Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Peter Altmaier said it was “not a mistake” to have agreed the China-EU investment deal just a few weeks before U.S. President Joe Biden’s inauguration.

Speaking to CNBC’s Geoff Cutmore via videoconference at the Davos Agenda on Monday, Altmaier said the EU’s new investment deal with China was “in large parts a twin of arrangements the U.S. already have with China and it’s about creating a level playing field.”

“So I’m very optimistic that we can develop and negotiate and sign more similar agreements worldwide and that the U.S. will also follow this path in their negotiations with other countries worldwide,” Altmaier added.

The executive arm of the EU, the European Commission, announced the new investment deal with China on December 30, after several years of negotiations. However, it is still to be finalized and is subject to approval by the European Parliament.

EU trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis told CNBC previously that “the main purpose of this agreement is to address the economic imbalance in our relations.”

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