Tuesday

30th May 2017

Opinion

EU dumping plan could ensure fairer China trade

  • EU trade commissioner Cecilia Malmstroem. Putting China on the same footing as other major trade partners is the first step towards delivering the growth and jobs that are a crucial part of the solution to Europe’s woes. (Photo: European Commission)

The world is reeling from the result of the US elections. Following hot on the heels of the UK referendum to leave the EU and the near-death experience of the EU’s trade deal with Canada, Donald Trump’s march to the White House may bode ill for free traders.

The transatlantic and transpacific trade deals are on the rocks. All the more reason therefore to celebrate a small but significant announcement last week from the European Commission, which offers an opening to more free and balanced trade with China.

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.

The proposal is, on the face of it, a protectionist move. Faced with a one-month World Trade Organisation (WTO) deadline to take China off its list of “non-market economy countries”, the EU is looking for the legal means to protect industries that fear annihilation when confronted with Chinese competition – also known as dumping.

Especially in the current highly politicised trade environment, it is however critical for the EU to have the means to safeguard its legitimate interests and defend jobs in industrial sectors hard-hit by globalisation.

Only this can buy the EU the freedom to continue to drive an ambitious international trade agenda. Putting China on the same footing as other major trade partners is the first step towards delivering the growth and jobs that are a crucial part of the solution to Europe’s woes.

Currently, trade with China accounts for roughly €600 billion per annum – or well over €1 billion a day. This relationship underpins millions of European jobs (of which 3 million depend directly on exports alone to China) and our quality of life. Consider for example that 90% of the world’s PCs, 70% of its mobile phones, 60% of its shoes and close to half of its ships are made in China (including by European companies, which have €130 billion invested in China).

A CEPS study commissioned by the Foreign Trade Association estimates that a bilateral free trade agreement could add 0.76% – or €83 billion – to EU GDP by 2030 and support more than 2.5 million jobs.

A bilateral investment treaty, already being negotiated, will give EU investors legal certainty and much greater access to the lucrative Chinese market and promote increased Chinese investment in Europe. With the OECD estimating that just 10 Asian countries will make up 60% of world GDP by 2050 – and China alone accounting for half of that – it is clear that investment in China will be critical for EU growth over the coming decades.

With the US under president Trump likely to reverse its “pivot to Asia”, the potential for the EU is all the greater.

To realise this potential, Europe needs to come to terms with China’s rise and see opportunity where it has often been too inclined to focus on risk. The commission’s proposal clears the way for the EU to abide by its WTO obligations and avoid a trade war which would be dangerously counterproductive for Europe.

At the same time gives the EU the tools to ensure trade remains fair. EU member states and parliament should embrace the compromise and aggressively make the case for its benefits with the industrial trade unions – as well as for the broader potential offered by freer and fairer trade with China.

Christian Ewert, Director General of the Foreign Trade Association

EU delays decision on trade defence

Trade ministers send a discussion on the level of import duties back to diplomats, also admitting that TTIP talks with the US are "in the freezer".

EU countries agree to reinforce trade defence

After two years of stalled talks, member states decided to keep the current rules on tariffs but to suspend them in case of “state-induced” distortions in raw material and energy.

The EU-China show will go on

China and the EU must be committed to deepen cultural understanding, foster mutual respect and willingness to work together.

Nato needs a European 2%

Europe needs to take care of its on security, but not on Trump's terms, with the 2 percent of GDP mantra flawed as a model.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhat's Going on in Catalonia? Join the Debate on 8 June
  2. Swedish EnterprisesDo We Need a More Social Europe? A Lively Debate Awaits You on 7 June
  3. Centre Maurits CoppietersDiscover the Role of Feminism in the Peripheries of Europe on 9 June
  4. Malta EU 2017EU Group Launched to Focus on Priorities and Policies Concerning Children
  5. UNICEFChild Alert on Myanmar: Fruits of Rapid Development yet to Reach Remote Regions
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersBecome an Explorer - 'Traces of Nordic' Seeking Storytellers Around the World
  7. European Healthy Lifestyle AllianceHigh-Intensity Interval Training Is Therapeutic Option for Type 2 Diabetes
  8. Malta EU 2017Closer Cooperation and Reinforced Solidarity to Ensure Security of Gas Supply
  9. Dialogue Platform"The West Must Help Turkey Return to a Democratic Path" a Call by Fethullah Gulen
  10. ILGA-EuropeRainbow Europe 2017 Is Live - Which Countries Are Leading on LGBTI Equality?
  11. Centre Maurits CoppietersWhen You Invest in a Refugee Woman You Help the Whole Community
  12. Eurogroup for AnimalsECJ Ruling: Member States Given No Say on Wildlife Protection In Trade

Latest News

  1. Netherlands ratifies EU-Ukraine treaty
  2. Nouvelles suspicions sur le groupe de Le Pen au Parlement européen
  3. EU sets out demands on post-Brexit people's rights
  4. IT security system risks EU fundamental rights
  5. Macron and Putin hold uneasy first talks
  6. From Greece to Scotland, we stand by Europe
  7. Juncker keen to build EU 'bridge' to Trump
  8. Ministers water down post-Dieselgate reform