Advertisement

Asia Europe Journal

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 199–212 | Cite as

The EU’s trade strategy towards China: lessons for an effective turn

  • Camille M. BrugierEmail author
Original Paper

Abstract

The European Union (EU)’s trade strategy has changed since 2015 with the re-introduction of human rights and the EU’s refusal to grant China Market Economy Status. The questions under investigation here are what were the drivers of EU-China trade before the strategic turn and what consequences could the new EU strategy bring about in the relationship. The paper will draw from 16 interviews with think tanks and policy makers carried out in Beijing and Brussels in 2015 to uncover the Chinese perceptions of the EU and its diplomats as well as the preferences that have so far pushed China to make the EU one of its first trade partners. This work concludes that in order for the EU-China trade relationship to keep functioning, the new EU strategy towards China needs to keep human rights as an issue separated from trade, needs to boost knowledge and legislation transfers on sensitive issues like food safety and environmental management and finally needs to keep the “European way” of dealing with trade frictions and disputes with China.

Keywords

European Union World Trade Organization Solar Panel Strategic Partnership Trade Dispute 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Professor T. Christiansen and R. Maher and the RSCAS for organizing the conference “China’s rise and the EU’s response” which led to this special issue. I am particularly grateful for the feedback and advice given by R. Maher and M. Lestra on the initial drafts of this article.

References

  1. China Daily (2016) European Commission still undecided on China market economy status. 21rst of July 2016, available on the following link: http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/world/cn_eu/2016-07/21/content_26163769.htm, retrieved on the 24.08.2016
  2. Dai B. (2010) State Councillor Dai Bingguo: agreeing on China’s path to peaceful development. Website of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Wai Jiao Bu Wang Zhan), 6th of December 2010, [戴秉国:“中国国务委员戴秉国:坚持走和平发展道路”,外交部网站,2010年12月 6日], Available on the following link: http://www.gov.cn/ldhd/2010-12/06/content_1760381.htm, retrieved 12/01/2016
  3. Economy E (2014) Environmental governance in China: state control to crisis management. Daedalus 143(2):184–197CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Eglin M (1997) China’s entry into the WTO with a little help from the EU. Int Aff 73(3):439–508CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. European Commission (2003) A maturing partnership—shared interests and challenges in EU-China relations. Commission Policy Paper For Transmission to the Council and the European Parliament, COM (2003) 533 finalGoogle Scholar
  6. European Commission (2006) EU-China: closer partners, growing responsibilities. COM (2006) 631 finalGoogle Scholar
  7. European Commission (2013a) EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Cooperation. [Electronic document], https://eeas.europa.eu/china/docs/eu-china_2020_strategic_agenda_en.pdf
  8. European Commission (2013b) EU imposes provisional anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar panels. Press Release, IP/13/501Google Scholar
  9. European Commission (2014) Fact sheet: facts and figures on EU-China trade. [Electronic document], http://www.trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/html/144591.htm
  10. European Commission (2015) Trade for all: towards a more responsible trade and investment policy. 14.10.2015. Available on the following link: http://trade.ec.europa.eu/doclib/docs/2015/october/tradoc_153846.pdf
  11. European Commission (2016a) Joint communication to the European Parliament and the Council: elements for a new EU strategy on China. JOIN (2016) 30 FinalGoogle Scholar
  12. European Commission (2016b) Shared vision, common action: a stronger Europe, a global strategy for the European Union’s foreign and security policy. June 2016, available on the following link: https://eeas.europa.eu/top_stories/pdf/eugs_review_web.pdf
  13. Grevi, G (2010) Making EU strategic partnerships effective. FRIDE, Working Paper N°105. Available on the following link: http://www.fride.org/download/WP105_Making_EU_Strategic_ENG_dic10.pdf
  14. Holstag J (2011) The elusive axis: assessing the EU-China strategic partnership. J Common Mark Stud 49(2):293–313CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Kinzelbach K, Thelle H (2011) Taking human rights to China: the EU’s approach. China Q 205:60–79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Morrison WM (2014) “China-US Trade Issues”, Report RL33536, Congressional Research Service. https://fas.org/sgp/crs/row/RL33536.pdf
  17. Pan, Z (2012) Conceptual gaps in China-EU relations: global governance, human rights and strategic partnerships. Palgrave MacmillanGoogle Scholar
  18. Perry E (2014) Growing pains: challenges for a rising China. Daedalus 143(2):5–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Sautenet A (2007) The current status and prospects of the ‘strategic partnership’ between the EU and China: towards the conclusion of a partnership and cooperation agreement. Eur Law J 13(6):699–731CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Shambaugh D (2008) China eyes Europe in the world: real convergence or cognitive dissonance. In: Shambaugh D, Sandschneider E, Hong Z (eds) China-Europe relations: perceptions, policies and prospects. Routledge, London, pp 127–147Google Scholar
  21. Xi J (2014) Speech at the College of Europe, 01.04.2014, English Transcript Available on the Following link: https://www.coleurope.eu/system/files_force/speech-files/speech_by_xi_jinping.pdf?download=1, retrieved on the 12.01.2017
  22. Zhou Q (2005) Conflicts over human rights between the US and China. Human Rights Q 27:105–124CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political and SciencesEuropean University Institute, Badia FiesolanaSan Domenico di Fiesole (FI)Italy

Personalised recommendations