How China became EU’s biggest trading partner and why Brussels maintain that by all means – The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology

His Excellency Ambassador of China to the EU, Mr. Zhang Ming (Credit: Chinese Mission to EU)

In a disastrous pandemic yr 2020 for the whole world and a worldwide economic system with recessions all over, there’s excellent news about EU-China financial relations that the media severely underplayed. EU trade with China in 2020 was €586 billion whereas commerce with US was €554. This means that in a remarkably turbulent yr for the world China became EU’s biggest commerce partner leaving the US behind. Of course, this didn’t occur all of a sudden however the previous 10 years have seen the China-EU commerce virtually doubling its worth.

What does this imply? It mainly reveals that these two economies are so carefully interdependent that nurturing a fruitful, amicable and steady relationship between the 2 international locations is just about a one-method avenue.

The ongoing challenges

Despite the consequential significance of sustaining good China-EU financial relations, it appears that in an orchestrated symphony the EU and the US imply to hurt the EU’s relations with its first trading partner. The historical past of mankind is unfortunately repeatedly repeated; each time that somebody excels there will probably be many who will do their finest to devour him. But who can earn a single dime anyway if the EU damages its relations with China?

Very lately, on the finish of July, the EU’s High Representative Josep Borrell expressed brazenly a worry that the EU will lose energy in Africa and Latin America to China, as a result of the EU has didn’t distribute vaccines to the creating world? He tried to supply obscure argumentation about it saying that China distributes extra vaccines to these international locations, thus the EU is lacking out. Obviously, this can’t be a severe official declaration by the EU’s prime man for diplomacy, however nonetheless he made it.

He didn’t cease there although and he later put it bluntly: “The European Union will at all times be nearer to Washington than to Beijing, we’ll at all times be nearer to a rustic that has the identical political system as ours, a market economic system, a multi-social gathering democracy with concurrence in elections, than a single-social gathering nation”. He tried to alleviate his daring comment someway by stating that the EU doesn’t essentially want to repeat-paste the US stance however discover its “personal” angle. It is at that level that he made a promise to launch a China-EU Relations report when he comes again from his summer season holidays in attractive Catalonia, the place he comes from. Great, so many horrible issues occur on daily basis around the globe these days however the EU officers should be graced with a month’s seaside holidays so to handle to launch a report. What ought to we expect anyway from that a lot anticipated phrase doc saved as pdf by non-taxed EU officers?

According to Borrell’s “beneficiant” hints, he doesn’t wish to play Trump by way of anti-China techniques, or no matter that means. He then referred to EU’s place on Hong Kong/Xinjiang to climax later with the next blunt assertion: “The European Union and the United States have mainly developed a desire for holding China, and the E.U. gained’t be capable to change its place as a competitor with China”. The latter makes it clear that Borrell’s intent is to make this an EU/US report moderately than an EU report.

Speaking in regards to the US, the American authorities launched an accusation earlier in July that the Microsoft Exchange e-mail server software program was hacked by sources linked to China. Borrell had additionally echoed then that the assaults got here from China concentrating on mental property. However, the Chinese facet rejected these claims as groundless.

Meanwhile, in mid-July the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament had issued a report about China outlining the relations with EU’s biggest trading partner. While the report endorsed EU-China cooperation for points just like the pandemic and local weather change, it saved on scratching the injuries of the China-EU challenges. It mentioned the freezing of the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) that befell earlier this yr and demanded the lifting of the sanctions towards MEPs and EU establishments. The report went on to the touch thorny points like Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang and so forth. The report didn’t omit to image China’s 5G giants as probably dangerous to the EU.

Main EU members don’t agree with the anti-China rhetoric

Nevertheless, not everybody buys the anti-China rhetoric and as a substitute tries to learn behind the traces of the US-led marketing campaign to harm China’s economic system and Biden’s seek for anti-China allies. For occasion, Angela Merkel, the German Chancellor representing the EU’s largest economic system, has expressed her reservations to go anti-China.

The US President Biden throughout his July tour in Europe tried to persuade her to put Germany firmly towards China however Merkel diplomatically spoke about “cooperation and competitors”. The French President Macron additionally had earlier underlined that it’s “counterproductive” to undertake anti-China techniques.

Among the EU member states that don’t really feel like hurting ties with China there’s additionally Hungary who tends to underplay any aggressive anti-China statements coming from Brussels.

Besides, even the British Finance Minister Rishi Sunak had additionally underscored that a “balanced relationship” with China is what is really lacking now.

Beijing calls Brussels to come back again to the connection

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi had a gathering with Borrell in Uzbekistan in mid-July. Wang mentioned that he hopes that the EU will respect China’s growth in a optimistic method which is essential for the event of the whole human form.

China’s Foreign Minister added that he hopes that the EU will view China’s growth from the angle of the event of mankind with goodwill and positivity, and the 2 sides will be taught from one another and make widespread progress.

He additionally expressed China’s intent for fruitful synergies with the EU on interconnection initiatives. Wang dedicated to maintain a fruitful and win-win dialogue with the EU and resolve variations successfully.

Mr. Wang Yi mentioned that China and the EU can complement one another and work collectively to advertise connectivity amongst international locations and speed up the event and revitalisation of the Eurasian continent.

The EU High Representative embraced Mr. Wang’s stance stating that he respects China and he wouldn’t wish to interact into a brand new Cold War. He made it clear that the EU doesn’t wish to confront the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). He additionally welcomed discussions with China on international work for local weather change.

Notwithstanding, simply a few weeks later in July Borrell in a 180 levels temper swing he modified utterly his stance, as mentioned earlier, launching hostile statements towards China.

Can Brussels be a pawn of Washington?

All in all, following the freezing of the agreed CAI earlier this yr the EU and China are certainly working a turbulent summer season whereby primarily the European facet tends to re-orient the connection with its first trading partner in the direction of new lows and one thing modified that has been someway dictated by the US.

The million greenback query right here although is whether or not the EU can have its personal will and backbone in addition to international affairs coverage nurturing the European pursuits in the direction of EU’s first trading partner or Brussels is only a pawn of Washington after all.

The anticipated fall report of Borrell will present how far Brussels is basically from the opposite facet of the Atlantic. It may even present if the EU will flip its again on its biggest trading partner. Surely, there are variations however that is why there’s diplomacy, no?

Undeniably, the decision of the variations in a balanced diplomatic method that won’t undermine the European and the worldwide economic system is a sine qua non in these turbulent financial occasions that we live.

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