Europe can benefit from China-US phase one trade deal

By Shi Tian Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/19 20:28:40

Photo: VCG

Since a phase one trade deal between China and the US was signed, various concerns have emerged in Europe, overshadowing China-Europe cooperation. 

Many economists in the continent think the China-US agreement will impair the "multilateral trade order" and be "harmful for Europe," The Washington Post on Saturday quoted Gabriel Felbermayr, president of the Germany-based Kiel Institute for the World Economy. Some European enterprises have even appealed to EU policymakers to "toughen their approach to China to secure a level playing field for European businesses," Reuters reported Friday.

Such worries are completely unnecessary. On the contrary, the pact between the two largest economies will favor European countries in the long run, because it indicates that China is opening its markets further.

China has always persisted in opening over the past decades. With this new trade deal, China's pace will accelerate and its interaction with the world will increase. Europe can undoubtedly become the beneficiary of a broader Chinese market. After all, further opening-up means more of China's market can be accessed by foreign companies, including European companies, instead of just American companies.

The years-long talks between China and the EU on an investment deal have achieved progress and entered a "critical stage," according to an EU official. It is highly likely that the deal can be reached in 2020. Once reached, the investment agreement will also bring more interests to European businesses and boost China-Europe economic cooperation.

Politically, China has always advocated cooperation on a multilateral basis and regarded Europe as a diplomatic priority. In December, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a speech that "We see Europe as an important cooperation partner and a priority on our diplomatic agenda."

This can be seen from a series of upcoming high-profile meetings between China and Europe this year, such as the 22nd EU-China summit and the meeting of China and Central and Eastern European countries. EU-China summit will be held in Leipzig in September. 

Therefore, no matter whether it is economics or politics, China has not closed its door to Europe or imposed restrictions on cooperation. 

Rather than holding some pointless worries about China, European countries should make more efforts in becoming less dependent on the US. Blindly following the US will undoubtedly go against Europe's own interests and its cooperation with China.

Some European countries are still treading on the heels of the US, especially with regard to Chinese high-tech giant Huawei and the 5G technology issue. These countries have not yet figured out how to treat Chinese companies and technologies fairly, and are still taking sides based on ideology. This will in no way be conducive to a stable economic and trade partnership between China and Europe.

China sincerely hopes that its relations with Europe can move forward, which is in line with the two sides' benefits and the multi-polar trend of the current world.

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