Europe will be taking a stronger stance against economic unfairness with China, according to European Union trade chief Valdis Dombrovskis. In recent statements, Dombrovskis has highlighted the lack of reciprocity and a level playing field from China as reasons for Europe’s increased assertiveness.
While the EU welcomes competition, Dombrovskis emphasized that it must be fair. He acknowledged the importance of a strong China in global transitions but asserted that the EU cannot be unprotected when its openness is abused and national security is at risk.
Dombrovskis has been delivering this message since he arrived in China and is currently on a four-day tour of Shanghai, Suzhou, and Beijing. As part of his visit, he is set to attend the 10th China-European Union High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue with Chinese officials on Monday.
This growing assertiveness from Europe comes amid concerns of unfair practices and trade imbalances with China. European businesses have long expressed frustration over issues such as forced technology transfers, intellectual property theft, and subsidies provided to Chinese companies.
The EU has been working towards establishing a level playing field with China for several years now. In 2020, it unveiled a new strategy to counter China’s economic influence and address issues such as market access, subsidies, and the role of state-owned enterprises.
Dombrovskis’ statements further highlight the EU’s determination to address these concerns and ensure fair competition. The EU has been pushing for reforms in the World Trade Organization to better address these issues and has also been actively pursuing bilateral agreements with key trading partners to strengthen its position.
As Europe becomes more assertive in its approach towards China, it remains to be seen how China will respond. The relationship between the EU and China has been complex, with both sides being major trading partners but also having significant differences on issues such as human rights and geopolitical influence.
With Dombrovskis leading the charge, Europe is signaling its willingness to protect its interests and ensure fair economic practices. As the EU and China engage in high-level economic and trade dialogue, the outcome of these discussions will have significant implications for the future of their relationship and global trade dynamics as a whole.