EU-China trade relations resemble a ‘slow-motion train accident’, says business group

In a recent media briefing, Jens Eskelund, the president of the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China, expressed concerns about escalating trade tensions between Europe and Beijing. Eskelund highlighted China’s growing ability to manufacture goods more cheaply in strategic industries, which could potentially price out European industries and impact trade relations.

Eskelund referred to this situation as a “slow-motion train accident,” emphasizing the need for an honest conversation between Europe and China about the implications of China’s manufacturing capacity. He noted that China’s emphasis on high-end manufacturing has led to concerns about overcapacity in various sectors, including chemicals, metals, and electric vehicles.

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The EU Chamber of Commerce in China released a report in collaboration with consultancy China Macro Group, focusing on the increasing political risks for European businesses operating in China. The report highlighted challenges faced by European companies in China, including restrictions on access to advanced semiconductor technology and concerns over national security.

Moreover, Eskelund pointed out the trade imbalance between Europe and China, with China increasingly sending more goods to Europe than the other way around. This imbalance raises concerns about the long-term implications for European businesses and the EU’s industrial base.

Overall, Eskelund stressed the need for a balanced approach to trade relations between Europe and China to ensure that both sides benefit without compromising strategic industries or security. As the dynamics of global trade continue to evolve, it is crucial for policymakers and businesses to adapt to these changes and seek mutually beneficial solutions.

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