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International relations

China and EU close in on investment deal as US casts wary eye

Brussels must reckon with internal split on Beijing and alarm in Washington

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is seen on a screen during a video news conference after a virtual summit with China's President Xi Jinping in September.   © Reuters

BRUSSELS/BEIJING --The European Union and China are stepping up talks on a landmark investment agreement before their year-end target, but U.S. skepticism and internal concerns about Beijing's human rights practices present Brussels with a difficult decision.

Negotiations picked up pace after Beijing switched to a more flexible stance. China has agreed to less-stringent requirements for joint ventures involving EU companies in finance and manufacturing, according to European media.

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