Chinese demands on nuclear power investment complicate EU talks - WiWo

BERLIN (Reuters) - The negotiations between the European Union and China on an investment agreement have stalled on the last stretch because China is making additional demands on nuclear energy, the German WirtschaftsWoche reported on Wednesday.
The issue of nuclear energy is controversial in EU countries, as such investments could bring the sensitive infrastructure under Chinese control.
"China wants to invest in European nuclear power plants and use Chinese technology in this area," WirtschaftsWoche quoted EU sources as saying.
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During the negotiations, China had told its European counterparts that it considered its own technology to be more advanced in this area, the report said.
Several EU member states are opposed to nuclear energy or have decided to withdraw from the technology within the next few years.
The EU and China are aiming to reach an investment agreement by the end of the year that, according to German and EU officials, should give European companies better access to the Chinese market.
The EU-China Comprehensive Investment Agreement would put most EU companies in China on an equal footing, potentially a big step in restoring Sino-European ties following the coronavirus outbreak in China and Beijing's crackdown on dissent in former British colony Hong Kong .
The deal could make transatlantic relations with the new administration of US President-elect Joe Biden more difficult.
Jake Sullivan, the national security advisor-designate on Biden's team, tweeted earlier this week that Washington would welcome early consultations with its European partners on "our common concerns about China's economic practices."
China fears being isolated from the West as the United States escalates its trade war with Beijing and Brussels has taken steps to more closely monitor Chinese investments in strategic European sectors.
According to Western diplomats, other important points in the sealing of the investment pact concern sustainable development and human rights issues such as forced labor in China.
(Reporting by Michael Nienaber; Editing by Nick Macfie)

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