Tuesday

28th Feb 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.

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

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. Le Pen party in new EU fraud allegations
  2. May to end rights of EU nationals after Article 50 triggered
  3. Nato warns against Armenia-Azerbaijan 'escalation'
  4. EU: No military solution to Nagorno-Karabakh war
  5. EU adopts visa-free brake mechanism
  6. Trump and Brexit drew on same resources
  7. Romanian protestors form EU flag at anti-government rally
  8. Over 3,500 attacks on refugees in Germany: report

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFA Deadly Journey for Children: The Migration Route From North Africa to Europe
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsFreedom of Association and Expression Under Threat in Kazakhstan
  3. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Brussels on March 6th
  4. EURORDISJoin Rare Disease Day and Help Advocate for More Research on Rare Diseases
  5. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceStudents Who Are Considered Fit Get Better Grades in School
  6. QS World MBA TourMeet with Leading International Business Schools in Paris on March 4th
  7. Malta EU 2017Economic Governance: Agreement Reached on Structural Reform Support Programme for Member States
  8. Socialists & DemocratsWomen Have to Work Ten Years Longer to Match Lifetime Earnings of Men
  9. Counter BalanceTrans-Adriatic Pipeline Is a Major Risk for Banks, Warns New Analysis
  10. Martens CentreEU and US Migration Policies Compared: Join the Debate on February 28th
  11. Swedish EnterprisesTechnology and Data Flows - Shaping the Society of Tomorrow
  12. UNICEFNearly 1.4 Million Children at Risk of Death as Famine Looms Across Africa and Yemen