Trade in services plays an important role in all modern economies. The resilience of the service sector and the increased availability of services can boost economic growth and increase industrial performance. In an increasingly localized world, services such as finance, insurance, transport, logistics and communications provide important intermediate products, thus decisively supporting the rest of the economy. The European Union, which represents its 28 member states, and China are both members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and are participating in ongoing discussions on the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA). The volume of trade of all participating countries accounts for 70% of the volume of world trade. TiSA is an important tool to increase the share of trade in services by removing existing barriers. TiSA offers new opportunities for service providers, while growth, jobs and prosperity are encouraged by all participating members. According to the latest Statistics from Eurostat, EU services trade with China recorded a surplus of 10.3 billion euros in 2015, due to an increase in exports (exports reached 36 billion euros, while imports amounted to 25.7 billion euros). The EU has trade agreements with these countries/regions, but both sides are now negotiating an update. This is something that Beijing is willing to compromise on. The new agreement comes at an important time to symbolize confidence, content and progress in the development of trade negotiations, market access and investment between the two sides. In some circumstances, trade negotiations with a trading partner have been concluded, but have not yet been signed or ratified. This means that, although the negotiations are over, no part of the agreement is yet in force.
The EU is in favour of opening trade relations with China. However, the EU wants China to act fairly, respect intellectual property rights and meet its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Prior to the meeting, it had been reported that European leaders were dissatisfied with the Xinjiang “re-education camps” and the brutal repression of Uighur Muslims in Xinjiang, the national security law in Hong Kong and the repression of freedom in that country, persistent trade imbalances and the lack of reciprocity for European businesses. The fourth EU Implementation Report (other languages), published in November 2020 and preceded by the preface by DG Commerce Director-General Sabine Weyand (other languages), provides an overview of the results achieved in 2019 and the remarkable work for the EU`s 36 main preferential trade agreements.