China’s unfair trade practices have forced the European Union (EU) to become more assertive in its dealings with the world’s second largest economy, the bloc’s Commissioner for Trade said Monday during a trip to Beijing, according to a media report.
But Europe has no intention of cutting relations with China or seeking self-sufficiency or import substitution, Valdis Dombrovskis said during a Monday keynote speech at Tsinghua University, CNN reported.
“We urge China to address the lack of reciprocity in our economic relationship,” Dombrovskis said, as per the report.
“The EU welcomes competition… However, competition must be fair. And we will be more assertive in tackling unfairness.”
The trade chief’s visit comes as tensions flare between the bloc and China over trade imbalances and geopolitical issues. Half of that deficit was in vehicles and machinery, according to statistics from the EU. The rest was in other manufactured goods, chemicals and energy.
Earlier this month, the European Union had launched an investigation into China’s state support for makers of electric vehicles (EV) as soaring imports of its cars stoke fears for the future of European auto manufacturers. China’s Commerce Ministry had called the investigation “blatantly protectionist” earlier this month.
Dombrovskis said the Chinese government had created a more “politicised” business environment by expanding its toolkit to protect national security interests, CNN reported.
“This has resulted in less transparency, unequal access to procurement, discriminatory standards and security requirements, and data localisation and transfer requirements,” he added.
Dombrovskis said China’s new foreign relations law and its newly broadened counter-espionage law, in particular, were of “great concern” to European business, CNN reported.