May 25, 2022

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Huge business relationship at stake as China and EU meet to discuss Russia

Huge business relationship at stake as China and EU meet to discuss Russia

At the virtual EU-China summit, Beijing is expected to face pressure from one of its largest trading partners over war in ukraineWhich will be the main focus of the talks, according to the European Union. Chinese President Xi Jingping and Premier Li Keqiang will also discuss trade relations, human rights and climate change with European Council President Charles Michel and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

“Senior EU officials have unsuccessfully sought to persuade Beijing to push Moscow toward appeasement,” Eurasia Group experts wrote in a note on Tuesday. “[They] It will now seek to recruit Xi, but the feeling in Brussels is that China is not interested in putting pressure on Russia.”

The row over the Russia-Ukraine crisis stands in contrast to the economic relations between China and Europe, which have deepened during the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s a look at how things are — and what’s at stake.

What’s on the table

China refrain From the vote on a UN Security Council resolution condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, many in the West worried.

“The way China deals with this conflict will have an impact on the future of EU-China relations in general,” Reinhard Botkofer, head of the European Parliament’s delegation for relations with China, told reporters ahead of the summit.

at statmentEU leaders said they would focus on “the engagement of the international community in support of Ukraine, the catastrophic humanitarian crisis caused by Russian aggression, its destabilizing nature of the international system and its inherent global impact.”

China acknowledged the tension in the room, but backed away from any assertions of wrongdoing.

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“The current international situation is volatile,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a press conference on Wednesday.

Beijing already has urge United State – Which, together with the European Union, imposed strict Penalties Against Moscow – not to undermine its “legitimate rights and interests,” adding that China and Russia “will continue to conduct normal economic trade cooperation.”

China has long sought to drive a wedge between the United States and the European Union, with officials and state media often citing the importance of the bloc’s “strategic independence” from Washington.

big business partner

Despite the pressure China and the European Union depend heavily on each other for hundreds of billions of dollars in trade each year.

China exceeded The United States in 2020 as Europe’s largest trading partner for goods, with the total value of trade reaching 588 billion euros ($650 billion), according to the European Union Statistics Office. Eurostat.
Shipping containers are stacked at Lianyungang Port on March 31, 2022 in Lianyungang, Jiangsu Province, China.

In 2021, this trend continued: the total trade in goods between China and the European Union amounted to 695.5 billion euros (about 777 billion dollars), compared to 631.4 billion euros ($704 billion) in trade between the United States and the European Union.

China was the number one source of EU imports and the third largest destination for EU exports, after the United States and the United Kingdom, according to Eurostat.

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Europe’s trade with the world’s second largest economy has risen over the past decade. Eurostat said China recorded some of the highest annual growth rates for both EU imports and exports from 2011 to 2021. Transfer.
However, the European Union still considered That the United States be its largest trading partner in general, taking into account the exchange of services and foreign investment. China ranks second in this regard, followed by the United Kingdom and Switzerland.

who trades what

Cars, machinery and communications equipment are among the most traded commodities between Europe and China.

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For Europe, automobiles and their components are among the hottest exports, while aviation and electrical equipment are very popular.

Meanwhile, baby strollers, data processing machines, furniture and other household appliances are among the top Chinese sellers in Europe. Many products flow into the Netherlands, home to Europe’s largest port in Rotterdam.

How a small European country beat China over Taiwan

The region’s largest exporters to China are Germany – which alone accounts for €104.7 billion ($116.5 billion) of goods shipped to China – followed by France and the Netherlands.

Currently, however, tensions are high over one particular, Much smaller EU country: Lithuania.

In January, the European Union Launched A case against China in the World Trade Organization, accusing Beijing of “discriminatory trade practices” against the Baltic state.
at statment, The European Commission said China began “severely restricting or effectively banning imports from, and exports to, Lithuania, or associated with Lithuania” after it allowed self-governing Taiwan to open a de facto embassy in its own name in Vilnius.

This move is angry The Communist leadership in Beijing, which claims Taiwan as part of its territory, although it has never ruled it.

The Russian invasion of Ukraine caused foreign investors to flee Taiwan.  Here's why
When Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian was asked about the matter at that time reporters that “China was following the rules of the World Trade Organization.”

“The problem between China and Lithuania is political, not economic,” he said.

Janka Auertel, director of the Asia program at the European Council on Foreign Relations, said the issue was likely to be on the top of EU leaders’ concerns on Friday.

“Brussels will have to send a strong signal of unity to deter further attacks – implicit or explicit -,” she said.

There is also little hope In order to revive the scheme Investment deal between China and the European UnionAnd the that was Previously put on the shelf Because of Beijing’s sanctions against MEPs for their stance on Xinjiang.

Eurasia Group analysts said that given the large number of current issues, this is “not a start” for now.

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– CNN Beijing bureau contributed to this report, Irene Nasir, Julia Horowitz, James Frater, Martin Guilando and Luke McGee.