The United States and Kenya formally began negotiations on the U.S.-Kenya Free Trade Agreement on July 8, 2020. If concluded, the agreement would be the first bilateral trade agreement between the United States and sub-Saharan Africa. The Indian government has recently imposed significant restrictions on foreign direct investment from its neighbours, which appears to be aimed at Chinese investment. This flood of litigation has led some EU Member States, including Italy, to try to limit the role of protecting investment contracts. On 31 December 2014, Italy notified of its withdrawal from the ECT, making it the first full ECT Member State to withdraw from the treaty. Although Italy`s withdrawal came into force on 1 January 2016, Article 47, paragraph 2, of the ECT means that existing investments in Italy remain protected until 1 January 2036. Negotiations on the modernization of ECT are underway, with the first such meetings scheduled for December 2019 and at least four more in 2020. Finally, the EU-China agreement on China`s accession to the WTO (19 May 2000) concluded that, although China would maintain the 50-50 ceiling, China would offer a legal guarantee to avoid prudential interference in private contracts between life insurance joint venture partners. China immediately granted seven new licences for European life and life insurers. In addition, insurance activities were opened to foreign companies two years earlier than in China`s China-U.S.
WTO accession agreement, and foreign brokers were allowed to operate in China five years after accession, without any joint venture requirement. The Chinese and European leaders pledged to conclude negotiations on their comprehensive investment agreement next year and to announce their deadline and other details on the process at a summit to be held on 9 April 2019 in Brussels, Belgium. As we have reported, the EC launched a consultation in May 2020 to clarify and complement the rules on cross-border investment within the EU. Given the many factors at play, it is difficult to predict whether the conclusion of the China-Italy orientation programme will lead to an increase in China`s investment in Italy and the EU as a whole, particularly in the long term. Recent data indicate that the signing of the China-Italy MoU has strengthened Chinese investment in Italy. In April 2019, it was reported that Chinese investors had signed 29 separate agreements in Italy worth $2.8 billion. Continued upward trend is expected to be influenced by other factors, including the application of the screening regulation, which could have a moderating effect. First, since 2013, the EU and China have been negotiating a comprehensive treaty (the “investment agreement” to replace the 26 existing bilateral investment agreements between China and EU member states (including the ILO China-Italy).