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Research Fellow discusses potential US-EU united front on China in a CCG, Daimler event

Published 28 January 2021

Hinrich Foundation Research Fellow Stephen Olson shared his views on the US-EU trade relationship and their potential united front on China at a webinar hosted by the Center for China and Globalization, and Daimler on January 19, 2021.

The webinar discussed the tensions between the United States and China that have presented the EU with both opportunities and challenges for its business community. The event looked into the new US administration’s potential China policy and its effect on commercial relations between Europe and China.

The panel discussion was moderated by Dr. Wang Huiyao, President, Centre for China and Globalization, and Counsellor to the State Council, PRC. The panellists included:

  • Eckart von Klaeden, Vice President External Affairs Daimler AG.
  • Stephen Olson, Research Fellow, Hinrich Foundation.
  • SU Ge, Chairman, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council, China; Former Chinese Ambassador to Iceland; CCG Advisor.
  • SUN Yongfu, CCG Senior Fellow; Former Director-General, European Department, Ministry of Commerce, PRC.

Olson said a US-EU united front on China will face some challenges because the trade relationship is already on rocky ground, and there are philosophical and tactical differences.

Olson pointed out four events that demonstrate the complicated relationship of the US and the EU:

  • The EU’s decision to move forward with an investment agreement with China, ignoring requests by the Biden team to slow down.
  • The United States’ tariffs on steel and aluminium and the EU’s retaliatory tariffs.
  • The Boeing-Airbus subsidies dispute at the World Trade Organization.
  • Digital tax initiative of France, which the US believes unfairly targets its tech companies.

Olson said many of the interventionist Chinese policies criticised by the US have approximate parallels in the EU. He gave an example of Germany’s Industry 4.0 programme that has much in common with China’s “Made in China 2025” plan.

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Pragya Bhatnagar

Pragya Bhatnagar is a former Research Associate with the Hinrich Foundation where he focused on International Trade Research.

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