Thursday

17th Aug 2017

Focus

De Gucht criticises China and US on trade

EU trade commissioner Karel De Gucht has accused the US administration of having a protectionist agenda and reiterated concerns that China is manipulating its currency.

Mr De Gucht will form part of an entourage of EU commissioners heading to China next month, with the currency issue and ongoing trade concerns likely to be raised during the talks.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

  • Karel De Gucht will travel to China next month (Photo: European Parliament)

"The yuan is under-priced," he told the Financial Times in an article printed on Thursday (18 March). "It certainly has an impact on their [US] export and trade patterns. The complaint is legitimate and there is awareness of that in Europe."

European businesses say Chinese exports gain an unfair advantage due to an artificially low yuan, although Beijing recently signaled it is considering a move to a more conventional monetary policy.

The governor of the People's Bank of China, Zhou Xiaochuan, said this month that the yuan's unofficial peg with the dollar, in place since mid-2008, was a "temporary" measure to fight the financial crisis, and that "sooner or later" it would come to an end.

US protectionism

The Belgian politician also took aim at US protectionism, blaming Washington for holding up the currently stalled Doha round of multilateral free-trade talks.

"One of the problems is that we don't know exactly what the United States wants. They don't want to go forward for now, that much is clear," he said of the decade-old negotiations, in an interview with Belgian business daily De Tijd.

US congressional elections in November were partly to blame, he added, but singled out a commitment from President Barack Obama to double US exports over five years.

"I don't see how anyone can double exports if there's no movement towards free trade," he said. "Protectionism will not lead to a doubling of exports."

Global trade negotiators are set to meet in Geneva next week for a technical meeting. However part of the problem is that leaders are not giving their representatives enough room to manoeuvre, said Mr De Gucht, despite calling for the deal to be completed by the end of 2010.

EU silent on Chinese currency move

The European Union has yet to react to comments made by China over the weekend that it is considering an end to the renminbi's unofficial peg with the dollar, in place since mid-2008.

China urges Germany and France to solve euro-crisis

Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao on Thursday offered vague promises to buy bonds from troubled euro-countries, but said that it is ultimately up to Germany and France to solve the crisis.

News in Brief

  1. Mixed Irish reactions to post-Brexit border proposal
  2. European Union returns to 2 percent growth
  3. Russian power most feared in Europe
  4. Ireland continues to refuse €13 billion in back taxes from Apple
  5. UK unemployment lowest since 1975
  6. Europe facing 'explosive cocktail' in its backyard, report warns
  7. Danish police to investigate misuse of EU fishing rules
  8. German constitutional court questions ECB's €2tn spending

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceDoes Genetics Explain Why So Few of Us Have an Ideal Cardiovascular Health?
  2. EU2017EEFuture-Themed Digital Painting Competition Welcomes Artists - Deadline 31 Aug
  3. ACCABusinesses Must Grip Ethics and Trust in the Digital Age
  4. European Jewish CongressEJC Welcomes European Court of Justice's Decision to Keep Hamas on Terror List
  5. UNICEFReport: Children on the Move From Africa Do Not First Aim to Go to Europe
  6. Centre Maurits CoppietersWe Need Democratic and Transparent Free Trade Agreements Says MEP Jordi Solé
  7. Counter BalanceOut for Summer, Ep. 2: EIB Promoting Development in Egypt - At What Cost?
  8. EU2017EELocal Leaders Push for Local and Regional Targets to Address Climate Change
  9. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceMore Women Than Men Have Died From Heart Disease in Past 30 Years
  10. European Jewish CongressJean-Marie Le Pen Faces Trial for Oven Comments About Jewish Singer
  11. ACCAAnnounces Belt & Road Research at Shanghai Conference
  12. ECPAFood Waste in the Field Can Double Without Crop Protection. #WithOrWithout #Pesticides