EU-China: a strategic outlook

On 25 April 2019, the EU External Affairs Sub-Committee considered the Communication on the EU-China strategy.

The Committee decided to retain the Communication under scrutiny and wrote a letter to the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, asking him:

  • What assessment the Government has made of the impact the possible inclusion of Huawei in the development of the UK's 5G network may have on future information and data exchange with the EU after Brexit?
  • To provide an explanation of the core and non-core parts of 5G infrastructure.
  • Whether the UK is still committed to promoting human rights in China, particularly in the light of the recent deterioration of the human rights situation.
  • What steps the Government has taken to enhance its trade ties with China after Brexit, including an update on the current state of the UK-China joint trade and investment review, and timeline for future meetings and objectives.
  • To set out the UK Government's general concerns regarding the International Procurement Instrument and what specific steps the Government is taking to address these.

Following receipt of the Minister's response (see below), the Committee agreed to clear the item from scrutiny.

Letter from the Minister

In his letter dated 10 May 2019, the Minister responded to the Committee’s questions with the following:

  • The Government has undertaken an extensive and thorough review of the 5G supply chain in general, which goes beyond single countries or companies. ‘Core’ parts of 5G infrastructure include user authentication and call routing. The Government’s decision, based on the review, which “will be announced in due course and to Parliament”.
  • “The UK remains committed to promoting human rights in China”, and concerns about the situation were raised by the Foreign Secretary on his last visit to China in July 2018. The 25th round of the UK-China human rights dialogue, which should have taken place in 2018, has not yet been held.
  • The UK engages closely with China on trade post-Brexit. The Joint Trade and Investment Review, launched in January 2018, provides analysis “to explore all options for the future trade and investment relationship without pre-judging outcomes”. The aim is to agree recommendations this year.
  • The UK Government’s concerns regarding the International Procurement Instrument (IPI) relate to the price adjustment mechanism. This mechanism allows for the EU to apply price adjustment measures if it is determined after an investigation that bidders or products or services come from a country that is applying barriers to EU participation in its procurement market. The UK opposes price preference mechanisms in general and is working with like-minded EU Member States to advance its position. The Minister offers to keep the Committee informed of progress on this, which is welcome.

  • Letter from the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, dated 10 May 2019 (PDF PDF 287 KB)
  • Letter from the Rt Hon Sir Alan Duncan, Minister of State for Europe and the Americas, dated 20 June 2019 (PDF PDF 281 KB)

Letter from the Committee

Related documents

Follow the committee on...

TwitterTwitter - keep up to date with the European Union Committee

The scrutiny process

Find out more about the scrutiny of EU documents: