10 Apr 2013
Challenges in EU-China trade relations
COFIT Fellow Rafael Leal-Arcas was invited to speak on “Challenges in EU-China trade relations,” at the high-level conference on China-EU Economic Partnership: Making the best of interdependence, the Institut Francais des relations internationales, Paris, France, 10 April 2013.
This presentation analyzes European Union-China trade relations in the context of the current negotiations for a new comprehensive framework agreement between the European Union (EU) and the People’s Republic of China. China is a strong economic power with increasingly sophisticated production in its coastal regions and is attempting to establish itself as a gravity center in East Asia by concluding many bilateral free-trade agreements in the region. Although China has a strong hold in the Far East, there may be specific policy areas in which China’s influence ends up being global. The presentation explains the steps taken for negotiating a new comprehensive framework agreement between China and the European Union, examines bilateral trade relations from a Chinese and EU perspective. It also seeks to analyze the various ways to improve the currently difficult EU-China trade relations. The presentation concludes that dealing with China was one of the main arguments in favor of ratifying the Treaty of Lisbon because it provides for a permanent president of the European Council and a single foreign affairs post for the entire EU, which facilitates the EU’s coherence in its external affairs. Moreover, the presentation concludes that the European Commission should negotiate the prospective Partnership and Cooperation Agreement between the EU and China more constructively, without patronizing China, and instead accept it as an equal player in the current multipolar framework of global economic governance.