BRUSSELS (Reuters) – European companies called on Thursday for European Union policy makers to tighten their focus on China to ensure equal conditions for European companies.
BusinessEurope, an organization that brings together business federations from 35 countries, said China was the most restrictive trading partner in the EU, with numerous barriers to investment, strict requirements for joint ventures and its closed procurement market for companies in the EU.
“The EU must reconsider its modus operandi towards China and put more emphasis on reciprocity and conditionality,” BusinessEurope said in a report to the European Commission and EU governments.
He stressed the disparity in market access between Chinese and foreign companies, financial advantages for Chinese companies in strategic sectors, cheap land and energy, and Beijing’s support for some Chinese industries.
The EU is the largest trading partner of China, and China is the second largest in the EU. Business Europe urged the EU to speak with one voice about China and share knowledge about the country, and suggested making China’s policies a top priority.
There were no immediate comments on China’s report.
The head of BusinessEurope, Marcus Beyrer, told reporters that China was interested in rebalancing the relationship with Europe because a continuation would change the architecture of the global economy to the detriment of export-oriented China.
It was also a bad idea for China to wage trade wars on two fronts, Beyrer said, since Beijing was already in a commercial conflict with the United States.
The United States and China signed an initial trade agreement on Wednesday that will reduce some tariffs and increase Chinese purchases of US products, deactivating an 18-month row between the two largest economies in the world, but leaving several conflicting points unresolved.
Beijing and Washington promoted the “Phase 1” agreement as a step forward after months of starting and stopping talks, and investors greeted the news with relief. Even so, there was skepticism that the commercial relationship between the US. UU. And China was now on the way to recovery.
Edition by Timothy Heritage