The EU and China are close to reaching a long-awaited business investment deal, according to media reports.
The pact, expected to be finalised soon, will give EU firms better access to the Chinese market and improve competition conditions.
Talks on the investment deal began in 2014 but have been stuck for years over a number of issues.
But rising trade tensions between the US and China may have helped change the Chinese position, officials said.
The deal comes hot on the heels of the UK’s post-Brexit trade agreement with the EU which was announced on 24 December.
According to multiple reports, the deal would open up China’s manufacturing sector to EU companies, as well as construction, advertising, air transport and telecoms.
One of the sticking points was China’s demands for access to the EU’s energy market given sensitivities over national security.
The deal is expected to give Beijing access to a small part of the European renewable energy sector on a reciprocal basis.
The pact is also designed to remove barriers to investment in China such as joint-venture requirements and caps on foreign ownership in certain industries.
Once the expected deal is reached, it needs to be ratified by the European parliament, a process that may not begin until the second half of 2021.