Call for EU-China Fair Trade
Call for EU-China Fair Trade

Call for EU-China Fair Trade

Call for EU-China Fair Trade

The EU and China have entered uncharted diplomatic waters in the aftermath of the Brexit vote and the US presidential election. They must embrace free and fair trade.
China is the world’s second largest economy, while the EU and China together form the second largest economic cooperation in the world, EUobserver reported.
It is in the interest of both China and the EU to defend free trade and to energize the multilateral trade order. Yet, they don’t just need more trade, but more fair trade.
Fair trade ensures that investment flows are mutual and reciprocal, and can thus contribute to greater economic integration between the EU and China.
The need to foster fairness in business, to respect and protect intellectual property and ensure equal market access between the EU and China, has never been greater.
As Jyrki Katainen, vice-president of the European Commission stated: “EU-China economic relationship is overall very positive,” but a “comprehensive and balanced” EU-China agreement on investment is needed to allow both sides to invest in each other with more “confidence”.
If EU-China relations were to stand the test of time, both sides need to adapt to the fluidity of the global diplomatic environment, and seek new narratives to engage with each other and with the rest of the world in times of strategic uncertainty.
The political logic that underpinned the establishment of the diplomatic relationship between the EU and China in 1975 still holds true today, as was epitomized in the speech by the then vice-president of the European Commission Sir Christopher Soames: “Both China and the EU have much to gain from the closer and more confident relationship which now opens up before us.”
This solid political logic should serve to steer the future of EU-China diplomacy. This would entail the EU and China developing diplomatic strategies that focus on the pursuit of a strategic vision for both sides and a potent narrative that provides principles and guidelines to shape the relationship in an increasingly networked world.
The EU and China would need to clearly define their own strategic interests and shared foreign policy priorities; moreover, regular political contacts should be increased through effective diplomatic mechanisms to maintain the momentum.
Strong political and economic will may be the engine for the deepening and broadening of the EU-China relationship, but perhaps cultural diplomacy is the most powerful tool to bring both China and Europe closer.

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