Until last night, Europe was under pressure from China so as to issue a strong joint statement against President Donald Trump’s trade policies ahead of the Sino-European Summit, in Beijing, on July 16-17.
Today it is a fact that the European Union did not succumb to China’s pressure, although the decision was preceded by several meetings, according to a Reuters report, in Brussels, where Berlin and Beijing, senior Chinese officials, including Vice Premier Liu He and the Chinese government’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, “had proposed an alliance between the two economic powers and offered to open more of the Chinese market in a gesture of goodwill.”
However, the EU, “the world’s largest trading bloc” as Reuters characteristically called it, denied a formal Brussels-Beijing alliance against the U.S. while, at the same time, rejected the idea of launching a joint action against Washington at the World Trade Organisation.
EU diplomats and officials who spoke to the international news agency noted that the upcoming Beijing summit “is expected to produce a modest communique, which affirms the commitment of both sides to the multilateral trading system and promises to set up a working group on modernising the WTO”.
The important bit in this trade story is that “Despite Trump’s tariffs on European metals exports and threats to hit the EU’s automobile industry, Brussels shares Washington’s concern about China’s closed markets and what Western governments say is Beijing’s manipulation of trade to dominate global markets.”
Suspicion remains and though China promised to change and open up, bloc officials consider possible future moves “to be more symbolic than substantive”…. / IBNA