An investment agreement between China and the European Union will likely be in place by the end of the week, according to officials with knowledge of the negotiations.
"As things stand now, the political agreement between the EU and China will be sealed Wednesday," a European official told Reuters. "There are only some minor details left which need to be hammered out."
The investment agreement has been seven years in the making and involves 28 countries. Once concluded, it will give companies in Europe better access to China's markets while providing greater protection for foreign investors on the mainland.
Forced transferring of technologies by Europe businesses in China won't be allowed as part of the deal and greater transparency among state-owned companies will be encouraged.
"We can't confirm anything at this stage," a representative for the European Commission, the organization which has represented European interests in the negotiations with China, said.
The internment of Uyghurs in the western province of Xinjiang by China has been a significant hurdle in the talks and, as part of the agreement, China will subscribe to the International Labor Organization's rules on forced labor.
But this might not be enough to ensure the safe passage of the deal through the European Parliament - where opposition members have taken a stand against human rights abuses in China.
Allegations of forced labor at these internment camps in December led the parliamentary body to pass a resolution condemning companies that manufacture their goods in such factories.
"We must not be morally complicit with the appalling human rights abuses by buying goods produced by forced labor in China," said European Parliament Member Miriam Lexmann during a debate.
As long as this forced labor continues, "we cannot facilitate investment in China," French foreign ministry representative Franck Riester said last week in a statement supported by Poland.
There is more opposition to the deal in the U.S. The deal sets the EU on track to closer economic and diplomatic ties with China even as U.S. President-elect Joe Biden pursues a frostier relationship.