The Study

The Sustainability Impact Assessment to support the negotiations of a comprehensive EU-China Investment Agreement studies how investment provisions under negotiation could affect economic, social, human rights and environmental issues in the EU and in China.

Since the WTO Ministerial in Seattle (1999), Trade Sustainability Impact Assessments (Trade SIA) have become an important tool for the EC to incorporate sustainability – a key concept in the trade policy of the EU – into the policy-making process and particularly into trade liberalization policies, such as Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). Despite the fact that the EU-China Investment Agreement is not a ‘standard’ Trade SIA (it does not consider an FTA agreement, but an investment agreement), it will follow the same approach, principles and guidelines where relevant.

This SIA runs in parallel to the actual negotiations. The objective of this SIA is to assess how the investment provisions of the investment agreement under negotiation could affect economic, social, human rights, and environmental issues in the EU and in the country or region with which the agreement is being negotiated.

Since the development of the SIA methodology in 1999, the EU has launched a SIA for all of its major trade and investment negotiations. The impact assessments consist of both quantitative analysis and more qualitative analysis and include extensive stakeholder consultations. Through engagement in several of these SIAs, Ecorys has gained strong experience with both the quantitative and qualitative aspects of these studies and is constantly building on this experience and further developing the network of experts and relevant civil society organizations and other key stakeholders interested in trade and sustainable development issues.


Following the TSIA Handbook the project has two basic pillars:

  1. Overall analysis of sustainability impacts:
    In the overall analysis we will apply a mix of methodologies that allows us to examine the impact of a potential EU-China Investment Agreement from multiple perspectives. This builds on the complementarity of tested and state of the art quantitative and qualitative approaches. As such we employ a multipronged approach.
  2. Consultations:
    Consultation activities are reciprocal by nature. On the one hand the goal is to inform interested stakeholders and the general public about the progress and findings of the study. On the other hand, stakeholders are invited to provide their inputs to study team.

For any comments, questions or suggestions regarding the SIA on the EU-China investment agreement, please contact us at the following email address: