The European Union and China: Interests and Dilemmas.

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The British government will likely continue to welcome Chinese investments in the UK in order to help stabilise a post-Brexit economy. This particular requirement will become even more imminent to the Chinese investors in the aftermath of Brexit. And if the Chinese investors will not deliver more employment opportunities as promised, it will certainly trigger greater backlash and hostilities from both the British political elites and ordinary citizens alike.

China must do its best to turn the crisis into opportunities to resolve this unexpected dilemma. This article is part of our special Europe's future after "Brexit". Menu Menu Close. Social Participation. Ecological Transformation. Future of Democracy.

The European Union and China – Interests and Dilemmas | brill

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China's Core Interests and Dilemma in Foreign Policy Practice

He added that the new focus on renewable energy and growth of smart cities i. Ambassador Cravinho expressed optimism regarding a possible breakthroughs in the Brussels Summit in April , while acknowledging that there were some outstanding issues that needed to be addressed in the negotiations scheduled for early January on the India-EU FTA.

This is an issue that need to be addressed on a priority basis. If structured poorly, it could derail it for just as long.


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On the basis of the above, India has sought to engage and build bridges with European Union and the Commission. The policy has brought rich dividends and should be further strengthened by the new team players and leaders of the Commission and the European Union. To those who propound this approach, our response would be that the imperatives of democracy may sometimes slow down policy reforms, but would the EU or the Commission have it any other way, in a less democratic, less pluralistic India?

See Also. To P. Most of the dialogues have been established over the past two to three years, and they reflect the massive growth in activity which defines the relationship. The chapter conducts a broad analysis of the material, institutional and ideational elements of the EC-China inter-regional partnership. It contends that, in its relationship with China, the EU appeared to consistently opt for a bilateral strategy, with a priority on material interests. The second part observes the material, institutional and ideational influences in the EC-China bilateral and multilateral partnerships.

Regions are also becoming more proactive and can involve themselves in inter-regional arrangements and agreements that can have an impact on partnerships at the global level. Soderbaum et al. The increasing presence of regional actors also created a demand for intermediaries which link global and regional systems at the top end of the international system as well as regional and national policy-making levels at the bottom end of the international system.

There have been calls for inter-regionalism to be analysed in its own right and not just within the framework in which regionalism is studied.

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This would, Soderbaum et al. They further explain how inter-regionalism has an effect on both bilateralism and multilateralism, with inter-regionalism becoming an alternative to classical, Westphalian, multilateralism. In the meantime, bilateralism and inter-regionalism can either compete or exist side by side while actually mutually reinforcing each other Soderbaum et al. The EC has, indeed, been prolific as a global actor, and this has extended to its involvement in proliferating regionalism and inter-regionalism. One of the clearest reflections of relevant EC activity has been its pursuit of regional and inter-regional partnerships, which include attempts to speak with a single voice in multilateral fora, such as the WTO, through its European Neighbourhood Policy ENP and in its ties with the developing world, as well as through unified strategies in creating global regimes Langenhove and Costea Current literature on regionalism shows that a variety of theoretical approaches ranging from realism to liberal institutionalism and social constructivism are useful in explaining EU inter-regionalism Soderbaum et al.

Making similar use of a number of traditions in international relations and comparative literature, Aggarwal and Fogarty put forward four hypotheses concerning the origins of EU interregional trade strategies. They argue that EU trade strategies are variously determined by the influence of specific interest groups within Europe, by bureaucratic attempts to maximise influence in the European policy-making arena, by international systemic constraints and opportunities and by the need to forge a common European identity.

With Mercosur, for example, the EU has been found to provide support for institution-building and regionbuilding in its attempt to increase EU legitimacy and its role as a global actor through political dialogue, cooperation, and trade Santander The idea that the EU is actively pursuing inter-regionalism has also been proposed by other scholars who explain that EU foreign policy strategy in promoting inter-regionalism could act as an alternative model of world order to the unipolar pax americana Hettne The Geneva Conference may have proven to be one of the major landmarks which had a positive impact on the relationship between China and Europe.

This positive attitude the Europeans appeared to offer might have been critical in improving subsequent commercial and political relationships.


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The French and the British sincerely believed that China could have a role in maintaining peace and stability in Indochina. Following the Geneva conference, trade quickly increased between China and the West European countries with West Germany, Britain and France being the largest traders with China Shambaugh 5. To begin with, this was a period when China finally became fully accepted by the international community and the Western blockade against China ended.

Finally, this was the period when the international trading community realized the possible impact the Chinese trading capacity could have on their own economies, and this was marked by increased signs of protectionism against Chinese products. China welcomed EC enlargement in because it allowed a challenge to the bipolar status quo, even though Beijing recognized that the grouping would wield more economic power than political power in the global arena Dent This put the EEC in perfect position to extend recognition to China in , while China also became the first communist country to recognize the EEC Shambaugh The fruits of this quick transition in the relationship between China and the EC were soon visible.

It is noteworthy that constant political problems between China and individual EC states convinced the EC states to give their support to the Trade Commissioner in order to improve their economic leverage as a powerful trading force in the Chinese market Wong 6. The framework was later extended to the hotly-debated Textile Agreement. After the talks between the Americans and the Chinese on textiles had broken down, the Chinese, who were very eager to reach some sort of agreement, backed down and accepted a quota for 40, tons of textile.

This was down from the 60, tons the Chinese had insisted on from the EC in the beginning stages of negotiation Kapur The fact that the EC and China managed to reach an agreement where the Americans had failed is an indication of a high degree of willingness to cooperate between the Chinese and the Europeans. According to Dent , China attracted an average of two Anti-Dumping duties per year from the EC, considered to be a rather high number in relation to its other trading partners.

It included a safeguarding clause, allowing the EC to take unilateral action against sudden influxes of Chinese imports, a restrictive Most-Favoured-Nation MFN treatment clause, whereby the Chinese were not given the same treatment as the GATT countries, and a clause which protected against Chinese sales at low prices CEC ; Kapur While these were critical times for the relationship between the EC and China, it was clear that the institutionalization of the relationship as well as established dialogue between the partners were already at a mature level.

At this stage, regular contacts were in place to resolve any 72 Natee Vichitsoratsatra trade issues in the China-EC Joint Committee, in accordance with the framework agreement.

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When the EC issued its Communication see the chapter by Cameron in this volume for details , China was already making positive moves to liberalize its economy. According to Kokko 25 , China had made several unilateral import tariff cuts since the early s, and other reforms were resulting in an increased degree of current account convertibility of the renminbi. In , the EC made the critical proposal that China be given transition periods to implement certain WTO obligations after its accession. This was eventually accepted by the WTO members. In , China agreed to phase out its trading monopolies and give full trading rights to all Chinese and foreign individuals within three years of accession.

Given the clear intentions of the European Commission, it was to be expected that some sort of breakthrough would be achieved soon. During this critical period, the first two EC-China Summits were held in and , bringing along an expansion of the political as well as the economic dialogue. It should be noted, however, that the US had already concluded its own bilateral agreement with China in While the maturing of relations and dialogue between China and the EC continued between and , the EC trade deficit continued to grow. EC imports increased from Ecu This was, according to the Commission, continuing to widen CEC The first principal feature of the EC-China partnership is based on exogenous effects, and focused mainly on the lack of US involvement in the partnership.

West Europeans were quick to engage with the Chinese during this period of US hostility against the Chinese, which provided them with the opportunity to engage in a healthy trade relationship with China. Eventually, it appears that the EC-China trade partnership has become based on this long and steady cooperative relationship which began in the s.

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When in Rome, do as the Chinese do

The second key feature of the interaction is the manner in which endogenous effects appear to have been handled in a far more cautious manner by the Europeans. The third main feature of the EC-China relationship relates directly to the first and second features and demonstrates how a long history of interaction and communication has resulted in an optimistic and cooperative attitude between the partners. Numerous Communications by the Commission also mark an exceptionally cooperative and patient undertone.

They provide some important insights into the nature of cooperation and answer some interesting questions posed by inter-regionalism. The trends and trajectories witnessed in the ASEM process also provide some useful insights into the reasons partners may choose to shift between bilateral and multilateral strategies. The first stage covers the period leading up to the s, when both sides appeared uninterested in developing a multilateral relationship in any sense and all interactions were predominantly bilateral.

This is, once again, clear evidence of the priority of states as the main actors in the EC-East Asian partnerships. The East Asian states, some victims of trade barriers, began to perceive the EC as a fortress. This created a feeling of mutual distrust which may have resulted in a low level of cooperation between the Europeans and the East Asians.

Before long, the mutual distrust began to take its toll, particularly on Europe. The lack of a formal, multilateral, dialogue with the East Asian nations meant there was no collective mechanism for dealing with East Asia as a whole.

Europe’s Trump-China dilemma

During this period, the East Asian economies grew speedily and the European trade deficit against the East Asian economies mirrored this growth. There also appeared to be a cooling of enthusiasm in the bilateral cooperation process between the EC and East Asian states. By this time, a formal multilateral relationship between the EC and East Asia appeared to be long overdue. The Asian economies were booming and the official declaration issued at the end of the inaugural Asia-Europe Meeting in Bangkok in held the 76 Natee Vichitsoratsatra promise of further cooperation between the two regions.

Had the dynamics of the international political economy not changed the following year, it is perhaps possible that cooperation between the European and Asian members of ASEM would have continued fruitfully according to the guidelines set by the Bangkok Declaration. The period leading up to the Bangkok Declaration can undeniably be described as the most promising period in the evolution of EU-Asia cooperation.

Klaus Larres on China-EU relations

This stage provides some important insights into inter-regionalism but it also raises some additional questions. The onset of the Asian Financial Crisis from July saw a shift in the cooperation scenario and the beginning of the third phase of collaboration. Since the establishment of ASEM, trade between the EC and Asia had already increased substantially, although the EC did not view this as particularly helpful due to the increased trade deficit. The third phase of the evolution of cooperation in the ASEM process highlights several important facts about the entire relationship.

It shows that ASEM clearly has the potential to succeed as an alternative method to bilateralism and global multilateralism in conducting a multilateral relationship between the two regions. Despite the informality of the process and its non-binding nature, there is clear evidence that trade between the two regions has significantly increased since the establishment of ASEM. Moreover, the third stage of cooperation in the ASEM process indicates that if both sides of the ASEM equation do not feel that they are equally benefiting from the cooperation process, either the EC or individual East Asian member states could refuse to extend their full cooperation.

This clearly amounts to the accentuation of hierarchy, or at least an attempt to accentuate hierarchy, whereby the EC tries to take control of the process particularly when smaller states are involved.

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