Europe’s chance in China

April 7, 2017, by Hubert Fromlet, Kalmar

President Trump met most recently his counterpart in China, President Xi Jinping. Regardless what the outcome of these meeting really turns out to be,Trump has not started up his relations with China in a friendly way. That’s certainly how the Chinese feel right now.
One may mention, for example, that Trump has accused China of
– of conducting unfair trade policy,
– of manipulating its currency,
– of having “invented” the global environmental crisis,

Furthermore, China has criticized Trump for his verbal support of Taiwan.

There is no doubt that the EU and a number of EU countries could benefit from these Chinese-American tensions. China indeed would like to enlarge its relations with Europe and European companies.
But China would also like to see a more reforming and harmonizing EU. My impression from visits to China and from talks with the Chinese is without doubt that they consider the EU as an underperforming institution with serious efficiency problems (which certainly is the case to a high extent).

China also dislikes some possible protectionist EU action caused by governmentally subsidized Chinese acquisitions in the EU. It is, however, remarkable that already 2500 Chinese companies can be found in Germany (source CHKD Germany) – mass entrepreneurship not only in China but also to some extent outside China, e.g. in Germany.

The conclusion of these reflections is that internal improvements of the kind described above would be good for the EU itself, Sweden included, but also for relations and business of the EU with the rest of the rest of the world – particularly with the economic giant of China, the largest economy at some point in the (foreseeable) future.
The EU should take this chance now!

Hubert Fromlet
Affiliate Professor at the School of Business and Economics, Linnaeus University
Editorial board

 

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