Wang Yiwei: China-EU cooperation benefits both, needs mutual efforts


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Wang Yiwei: China-EU cooperation benefits both, needs mutual efforts


By: Wang Yiwei   Source: Global Times  Published: 2020-11-19

While certain politicians from the EU are grumbling about potential influence from the freshly signed Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), multinationals have shown a clear path they picked to pursue a rosy future by betting on the Chinese market.

Hahn Automation, a German industrial robot-maker, is launching millions of euros investment in China so as to take the advantage of the market which rapidly put the COVID-19 crisis under control and shows promising growth momentum, according to a report from the Reuters.

The company's goal is to gain 25 percent of its sales in China by 2025 from roughly 10 percent now, Chief Executive Frank Konrad said in the report. Another German-based company mentioned in the report shares similar goals.

After having been badly hit by the novel coronavirus, the global market now has not many ideal destinations for investment as most of the countries and regions are still struggling in the COVID-19 mire. Whereas China, with rapid and effective containment measures, has managed to put the outbreak under control and is expected to be the only major economy to realize growth this year.

The nearly one year crisis has also underlined China's efficiency and sound industrial chains as a "world factory," and its strong resilience as an economy under new pattern of dual circulation, as well as its huge consumption potential as a "world market."

Not only is Chinese economy shaking off impact of the pandemic, it is also upgrading to a high-quality development pattern. It brings in fiercer challenges and rosy opportunities, leading to the critical problem of whether the multinationals could overtake the challenges and seize the opportunities to grow.

China has over 400 million middle income residents with a growing trend. It has already drawn industrial giants from overseas, at a time when developed countries have long seen their middle income classes shrink.

The future trend of cross-border investment is clear under such circumstances, despite consistent discord sowed by some ideology-biased or politically motivated forces.

From the EU to the US, some politicians are hyping their concerns or complaints over the RCEP, even calling for collusion to hinder the development of the new trade deal, with an exclusive mindset.

Inversely, China has been focusing on its own development while promoting mutual beneficial cooperation. Alongside the signing of the RCEP, China has also been actively promoting talks for the China-EU bilateral investment treaty (BIT).

Besides China as a huge market which could benefit the EU's recovery, the two sides have seen increasing convergence on development related to digital transition, green economy and others. Also with a rising intention to pursue strategic autonomy, the EU is expected to be less influenced by the US' threats, especially when it comes to disputes between the world's two largest economies.

Though leaders from both sides have reaffirmed commitments on concluding China-EU BIT within the year, challenges remain since it is hard for the 27 countries under the EU to reach consensus on one topic, and Europe has seen crisis continuously emerging.

Reaching an agreement needs mutual efforts. The EU is expected to meet China half way instead of heightening thresholds to gain advantages over the other side. The 34th round of bilateral talks for the BIT is holding this week. "The two sides are expected to make positive progress by focusing on the remaining issues and continuing in-depth consultations," spokesperson of China's Ministry of Commerce Gao Feng told a press conference on Thursday.

Wang Yiwei is a senior fellow of Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies at Renmin University of China(RDCY).

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