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China: From partner to rival [What Think Tanks are thinking]

02-10-2020

According to analysts and politicians, China’s increasingly autocratic domestic stance and assertive foreign policy are damaging its relations with the European Union. No substantial agreement was achieved at a virtual EU-China summit on 14 September, despite years of negotiations on many issues, not least on trade and investment. ‘For the EU, China is simultaneously (in different policy areas) a cooperation partner, a negotiation partner, an economic competitor and a systemic rival,’ the European ...

According to analysts and politicians, China’s increasingly autocratic domestic stance and assertive foreign policy are damaging its relations with the European Union. No substantial agreement was achieved at a virtual EU-China summit on 14 September, despite years of negotiations on many issues, not least on trade and investment. ‘For the EU, China is simultaneously (in different policy areas) a cooperation partner, a negotiation partner, an economic competitor and a systemic rival,’ the European External Action Service’s background paper says. Formally, the EU and China have been strategic partners since 2003 – a partnership that was broadened five years ago by the EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. However, more recently, EU officials and politicians have been expressing increasing concerns over China’s economic expansionism and human rights violations. The current coronavirus pandemic and developments in Hong Kong have had a marked negative impact on EU-China relations. This note offers links to recent commentaries, studies and reports from major international think tanks on China, its ties with the EU and related issues.

EU-China trade and investment relations in challenging times

25-05-2020

This report examines key aspects of the European Union-China economic relationship, including trade, investment and China’s key strategic project overseas, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We conclude that China is, and will continue to be, a major trade and investment partner for EU countries. In this context, it seems clear that regardless of the direction of the United States-China relationship, the EU needs to explore options for fruitful co-existence with China. Trade continues to be the ...

This report examines key aspects of the European Union-China economic relationship, including trade, investment and China’s key strategic project overseas, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). We conclude that China is, and will continue to be, a major trade and investment partner for EU countries. In this context, it seems clear that regardless of the direction of the United States-China relationship, the EU needs to explore options for fruitful co-existence with China. Trade continues to be the least problematic aspect of the EU-China economic relationship, although challenges need to be dealt with in a number of areas. There is hardly any EU-China trade in services, and the value added of Chinese exports and competition on third markets is increasing. As for investment, although EU companies have built up more foreign direct investment in China than the other way around, Chinese investment in Europe is growing and has focused strongly on technology. This raises the question of whether the EU should fear losing its technological edge, especially when Chinese state-owned companies might distort competition, not only in China, but also overseas through acquisitions. Finally, we review the significance of the BRI from the European perspective. The BRI offers potential trade gains for Europe by improving physical connectivity with countries along the route to China, but it also poses challenges for the EU. The main challenge is China’s increasing soft power, which is being felt in the EU’s neighbourhood and even in a growing number of EU countries. A more united approach to managing the EU-China economic relationship is required to improve the bargaining power of EU countries when dealing with China.

Ārējais autors

Alicia GARCIA-HERRERO, Guntram WOLFF, Jianwei XU, Nicolas POITIERS, Gabriel FELBERMAYR, Rolf LANGHAMMER, Wan-Hsin LIU, Alexander SANDKAMP

International Agreements in Progress: EU-Vietnam trade and investment agreements

14-11-2019

The European Commission has described the free trade and investment protection agreements (FTA/IPA) signed with Vietnam as the most ambitious deals of their type ever concluded by the EU and a developing country. Not only will they eliminate over 99 % of customs duties on goods, they will also open up Vietnamese markets to European service providers and investors. According to European Commission figures, the agreements will boost trade in both directions, with EU exports set to rise by nearly 30 ...

The European Commission has described the free trade and investment protection agreements (FTA/IPA) signed with Vietnam as the most ambitious deals of their type ever concluded by the EU and a developing country. Not only will they eliminate over 99 % of customs duties on goods, they will also open up Vietnamese markets to European service providers and investors. According to European Commission figures, the agreements will boost trade in both directions, with EU exports set to rise by nearly 30 %. Vietnam is the second south-east Asian country after Singapore to sign trade and investment agreements with the EU, bringing the long-term goal of a region-to-region EU-ASEAN trade deal a step closer. In view of the human rights situation in Vietnam, opinions are divided on whether the agreements should be ratified. Critics argue that the EU should not approve the agreements until the situation improves. On the other hand, defenders point out that the FTA/IPA include commitments to stronger human rights (such as allowing independent trade unions); they also insist that the EU can best help to bring about improvements by engaging with Vietnam . Following the same approach as for Singapore, the single text originally agreed in 2015 with Vietnam has been split into two parts, an FTA covering exclusive EU competences and an IPA that includes competences that are shared with EU Member States. The European Parliament is set to vote in February 2020; if it gives its consent, the two agreements will then have to be ratified by Vietnam and (for the IPA) the EU Member States before entering into force.

EU-Cuba relations: a new chapter begins

18-07-2017

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence ...

The Political Dialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba, endorsed by the European Parliament (EP) on 5 July 2017, opens a new phase in EU-Cuba relations. Until now Cuba was the only country in Latin America without a cooperation or political dialogue agreement with the EU. The PDCA creates a framework for political dialogue and closer bilateral cooperation, including in trade. The parts of the agreement (mostly related to cooperation and trade issues) that fall within EU competence can already be applied provisionally, but the agreement will only enter into force in full after it has been ratified in all the EU Member States. Since negotiations on the PDCA began in 2014, Cuba’s relations with the EU and individual Member States have intensified considerably. For the EU, the PDCA is a tool for supporting a process of change and modernisation in Cuba, while for Cuba it represents the ‘normalisation’ of the relationship with an important economic and trade partner and helps it to diversify its external relations. Parliament will focus, in monitoring the implementation of the PDCA, on two areas of particular concern to the EP: human rights and civil liberties on Cuba, and the role of Cuban civil society.

The 2016 Elections in the United States: Effects on the EU-US Relationship

17-01-2017

Despite (or because of) Donald Trump’s various campaign statements, it is hard to predict confidently what path his administration will take in a wide range of foreign-policy areas. It is however possible to identify key issues and challenges in EU-US relations during his presidency. This briefing provides an overview of issues where US policy may change sharply during the next four years and what this may mean for the EU. Less interventionism, less commitment to NATO and a retreat from trade liberalization ...

Despite (or because of) Donald Trump’s various campaign statements, it is hard to predict confidently what path his administration will take in a wide range of foreign-policy areas. It is however possible to identify key issues and challenges in EU-US relations during his presidency. This briefing provides an overview of issues where US policy may change sharply during the next four years and what this may mean for the EU. Less interventionism, less commitment to NATO and a retreat from trade liberalization could be central to Trump’s presidency. Transatlantic relations would be affected by US actions such as rapprochement with Russia and a softer line on the Ukraine conflict, alignment with Assad and Putin in Syria, extreme counterterrorism measures, abandoning the Iran nuclear deal, and unconditional support for Israel. Confrontation with China over trade and regional security, and reversal of environmental policies will also have repercussions for the EU. In order to mitigate all these risks, the EU must at least entrench existing cooperation with the US before trying to enhance it. It can The do so by reaffirming European unity and solving threats to its integration, by becoming a better security “producer” and by “thickening” interparliamentary exchanges.

Ārējais autors

Nicolas BOUCHET (The German Marshall Fund of the United States, USA)

An EU Strategy for Relations with Iran after the Nuclear Deal

23-06-2016

This report outlines the potential for a more structured and strategic relationship between the European Union and the Islamic Republic of Iran following the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). To both address areas of disagreement and complaints, as well as pursue common interests and matters of mutual benefit, the EU needs to put in place an institutional framework that can withstand the various setbacks that have, to date, derailed all previous efforts of political dialogue. There are ...

This report outlines the potential for a more structured and strategic relationship between the European Union and the Islamic Republic of Iran following the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). To both address areas of disagreement and complaints, as well as pursue common interests and matters of mutual benefit, the EU needs to put in place an institutional framework that can withstand the various setbacks that have, to date, derailed all previous efforts of political dialogue. There are a number of areas where both actors can benefit from cooperation; trade, environmental and sustainability issues, education, and combatting drug trade. Even when pursuing more contentious issues such as human rights, having a strategic and fully-fledged multilevel relationship will be helpful. There are also a number of political crisis in the region (ISIS, migration) where reaching a solution without Iranian involvement will either be unnecessarily costly or near impossible.

Ārējais autors

Rouzbeh PARSI (European Iran Research Group, Lund University, Sweden)

The World Bank: Serving ambitious goals, but in need of reform

21-04-2016

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, nowadays known as the World Bank, was conceived to help rebuild European countries devastated by the Second World War. Since then, through various reforms, its mission has evolved and its scope and staff increased significantly. Nowadays, the World Bank Group consists of five institutions (IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA and ICSID), each with a particular mode of organisation and a specific scope and mission. The institution and its role have evolved ...

The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development, nowadays known as the World Bank, was conceived to help rebuild European countries devastated by the Second World War. Since then, through various reforms, its mission has evolved and its scope and staff increased significantly. Nowadays, the World Bank Group consists of five institutions (IBRD, IDA, IFC, MIGA and ICSID), each with a particular mode of organisation and a specific scope and mission. The institution and its role have evolved significantly since its inception in 1944, most recently with its 2013 strategy, although the main reasons behind its existence remain. The five institutions that form the World Bank Group have slightly different memberships, along with boards of governors and boards of directors. Commentators have presented arguments in favour of the Bank, as well as many criticisms and concerns with regard to its work. In particular, criticisms concerns issues such as smaller countries being inadequately represented, and some of the Bank's models being too conservative and in need of updating to take into consideration the evolution of today's world economy. Furthermore, critics say the Bank should engage meaningfully with the international human rights framework and assist its member countries in complying with their own human-rights obligations; and despite positive results from some of the Bank's programmes, these have also had negative spill-overs in the countries concerned.

Proceedings of the Workshop on "Trade and Economic Relations with Asia"

07-03-2016

This publication consists of the proceedings and of three studies which were presented during the workshop on trade and economic relations with Asia: - Asia as a new global engine: foreign trade and regional cooperation ; - EU external trade strategy vis-à-vis Asia ; - Implementation of the EU-Republic of Korea FTA.

This publication consists of the proceedings and of three studies which were presented during the workshop on trade and economic relations with Asia: - Asia as a new global engine: foreign trade and regional cooperation ; - EU external trade strategy vis-à-vis Asia ; - Implementation of the EU-Republic of Korea FTA.

China’s Foreign Policy and External Relations

07-07-2015

This study provides an overview of China’s current approach to foreign policy and external relations. It focuses more particularly on the role and actions of China in global governance, its territorial claims and relations with countries in Asia, and its emergence as an important actor in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. It assesses the implications for the EU and makes recommendations on how the EU should deepen its strategic partnership with China. The study ...

This study provides an overview of China’s current approach to foreign policy and external relations. It focuses more particularly on the role and actions of China in global governance, its territorial claims and relations with countries in Asia, and its emergence as an important actor in Central and Eastern Europe as well as in the EU’s Eastern Neighbourhood. It assesses the implications for the EU and makes recommendations on how the EU should deepen its strategic partnership with China. The study argues that China has not made a unilateral and exclusive turn towards assertiveness in its foreign policy. China’s foreign policy assertiveness represents a policy choice that should be understood in the broader context of its external relations, which is one of uncertainty. Both the impact of China’s emergence in international affairs and the use China intends to make of its power and influence remain uncertain. This uncertainty is explained by the interdependence between a number of international and domestic factors as well as by the absence of a grand strategy. The uncertainty in China’s foreign policy opens avenues for the EU to influence China and further deepen the scope of the EU-China Strategic Partnership.

Trade and economic relations with China 2015

23-06-2015

The EU's trade and economic relations with China, the global leader in trade, are generally good, and the number of disputes reasonable. Yet the EU is dissatisfied with China's reluctance to fully implement its commitments to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and, more generally, with its protectionist measures, which often hurt EU interests. For its part, Beijing is still dissatisfied with the EU's refusal to grant the country 'market economy' status and with other measures it believes limit China's ...

The EU's trade and economic relations with China, the global leader in trade, are generally good, and the number of disputes reasonable. Yet the EU is dissatisfied with China's reluctance to fully implement its commitments to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and, more generally, with its protectionist measures, which often hurt EU interests. For its part, Beijing is still dissatisfied with the EU's refusal to grant the country 'market economy' status and with other measures it believes limit China's access to the Single Market. Negotiations for an EU-China partnership and cooperation agreement, initiated in 2007, have yet to be concluded. In January 2014, China and the EU held the first round of negotiations for a bilateral investment agreement. Negotiations are progressing steadily but their end is not in sight. More recently, Beijing has suggested opening talks for an EU-China FTA, but Europe’s reaction has been lukewarm.

Gaidāmie notikumi

20-01-2021
EPRS online policy roundtable with the World Bank: Where next for the global economy
Cits pasākums -
EPRS
25-01-2021
Public Hearing on "Gender aspects of precarious work"
Uzklausīšana -
FEMM
27-01-2021
Public hearing on AI and Green Deal
Uzklausīšana -
AIDA

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