China has welcomed its new status as the European Union’s most important trading partner, another achievement of the fast-growing People’s Republic, the rise of which in the international order has sparked concern and criticism from the United States and, to some extent, other Western powers. well.
In a speech at Friday’s press conference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said the latest EU trade data released last month was “good news for both China and the EU”.
The statistics, shared with him Newsweek A study by the EU’s official European Statistical Office showed that China-EU trade amounted to € 425.5 billion from January to September this year, roughly $ 516.8 billion, ahead of the US and the EU at € 412.5 billion. , or about $ 501 billion. in the first three quarters of the same 2020.
The pivotal month was July. The report accompanying the figures is briefly detailed.
“In the first nine months of 2020, China was the EU’s main partner,” he said. “This result was due to an increase in imports (+ 4.5%) while exports remained unchanged. At the same time, trade with the United States decreased significantly in both imports (-11.4%) and exports (-10.4%). 0%). “
Back in Beijing, Hua saw the change as a sign of close ties between China and Europe, noting that the EU has been China’s largest trading partner for years, with room for even greater development.
“China and the EU, as important trading partners, are highly complementary in their economies and boast huge opportunities in broad areas of cooperation,” Hua said.
The volatility is taking place at a difficult time for the global economy, which has been damaged by the COVID-19 pandemic. The disease was first observed in China, but the country experienced an early recovery, allowing it to resume trade quickly, while the disease also devastated other countries, especially the western and worst in the United States, which continues to break daily record of infection and death number.
Both China and the US have pointed to global assistance in presenting their status on the international stage, sometimes despising each other’s positions.
But as European countries are also hit hard by a disease that has triggered national isolations and various disruptions to everyday life, Hua said the latest trade data “fully demonstrates the resilience and potential of China-EU economic and trade relations.”
He claimed it was good for both of them.
“The rapid growth of trade between China and the EU has strongly boosted socio-economic development and improved the well-being of people on both sides,” Hua said.
He outlined how China and the EU had signed an agreement between China and the EU on geographical indications in September, the last year of the relevant EU trade figures, to promote reciprocal agricultural trade, and how negotiations were progressing on how to facilitate further investment in “China to increase the size” -EU economic and trade cooperation to new heights. “
According to him, this model of cooperation with China is valid not only in Europe but also in the world.
“In the future, in addition to promoting a new development paradigm, China will expand openness and offer more opportunities to the EU and other countries,” Hua said. “We also hope that the EU will keep its trade and investment markets open and work with China to maintain an open and free environment for economic globalization and trade and investment.”
China’s pace of regaining its 19th-century title as the world’s largest economy has shocked many in the West. He is currently in second place and lagging behind the fifth level when the Chinese Communist Party took control in the wake of World War II and the civil war with nationalist forces now exiled to Taiwan. China is projected to top the list in about a decade.
In Europe, countries such as France, Germany and the United Kingdom, which have officially left the EU, have accused China of abuses in economic, human rights and geopolitical debates in Asia.
But Paris and Berlin also had difficult ties with Washington under President Donald Trump, who took a belligerent stance against Beijing and tried to redefine the transatlantic relationship with European allies as well. With the current administration leaving office next month, the EU has already begun developing a new strategy to work with President-elect Joe Bidend.
The European Commission on Wednesday published an 11-page document entitled “A New EU-US Agenda for Global Change”. The report sets out a framework urging “a key role for a new global alliance of like-minded partners”.
The strategy explicitly mentions China as “a negotiator, economic competitor and systemic rival of the cooperation”.
And while he calls for action to tackle the increasingly powerful Beijing, the EU has also reproached the Trump administration’s approach of launching a trade war that shook the international market.
“As open democratic societies and market economies, the EU and the US agree on the strategic challenge posed by China’s growing international self-assertion,” the report said, “even if we do not always agree on the most appropriate way to address it.”
Biden offered little about his future Chinese strategy, but in an interview with The New York Times also published on Wednesday, proposing that no sudden decisions be made in the short term, including its predecessor’s trade policy against China.
“I’m not going to move on right away, and the same goes for tariffs,” Biden said Times. – I won’t affect my options.
Rather, his goal would be to “develop a coherent strategy” alongside the American allies with whom he wanted to “lead us back on the same page” in the early weeks of his mission.
One day after the publication of the report and Biden’s interview, he led the Chinese Communist Party Global Times The outlet’s publishing expressed skepticism about the ability of the U.S. and the EU to develop a common approach to fighting China because of their differing positions and priorities.
“Europe may be reluctant to promote a new Western unity with the US at its core, and with the radical policy of the Trump administration towards China. New frictions will be inevitable,” the article reads. “But if, on the other hand, Europe defines Western unity and the U.S. makes fewer decisions and provides more resources, Washington will never accept that.”
The publication eventually “largely imaginary” rejected the concept of “the so-called China challenge and the threat posed by China.”
But this threat seems more real than ever in Washington political circles, where the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission has published a 575-page report on the challenges to the relationship between the two countries as part of its annual review presented to Congress. According to the report’s authors, this year’s issue focused for the first time in the committee’s two-decade history on China “surpassing” the United States rather than “catching up.”
The report identified Europe as one of the key arenas in which China sought to expand its influence.
As regards Hua, in response to a long list of allegations of Chinese economic and political misconduct in the comments sent to the addressee Newsweek he protested against the embassy in Beijing against a committee that he said was “always ideologically biased against China” on Thursday, arguing that “there is no factual basis for China’s fraud and smear in the various reports it produces.”