Both sides stand firm on WTO rules, have bigger room to cooperate, experts believe
China and the European Union will have bigger room to cooperate and the nation could offer favorable policies to the EU in market access, experts said on Thursday.
Sun Yongfu, former director-general of the Department European Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce, said China's massive market size remains attractive to the EU, and as the two sides stand firmly with the World Trade Organization, there will be big room to build closer ties.
"Compared with the United States, the EU has relatively less restrictions on the import and export of the high-tech products with China. Europe is also China's major partner in services, technology and related products. We need to take the EU into consideration to facilitate the country's industrial upgrading progress," Sun said at a seminar on the possible trade conflict between China and the U.S. in Beijing.
Sun said both China and the EU are supporters of globalization, comply with rules of WTO and stand firmly against unilateralism and trade war.
"Both China and the EU agree if there is any trade conflict, it should be solved through the WTO," Sun said.
"The trade volume between China and the EU saw a yearly increase of 12.7 percent in 2017 and the figure surpassed 0 billion in the first two months of 2018," he said. "It is relatively smaller compared to that with the U.S., but it certainly has potential to grow."
Sun also said the EU has the same demand from China as the U.S., therefore the question of how to conduct production capacity cooperation with the EU needs to be well addressed in case of future trade conflicts.
"When trade and technology cooperation between China and the U.S. faces a standoff, there will be more room for China and the EU to work together," said Lu Yuebing, president of the China branch of Air Liquide, the French industrial gases and services provider.
"China and the EU are more complementary to each other, while there is more competition between China and the U.S.," said Lu.
"The US is a superpower because of its strength in innovation and creativity in the high tech sector and having a huge market that is truly internationalized," Lu said.
"However, the EU is also proficient in developing future technologies, while China has an attractive market, open-minded consumers, well-developed infrastructure and a supportive government. It gives the two sides solid ground for high-tech cooperation," Lu added.
He said the country is already in close cooperation with the EU in many aspects including high-speed railways, nuclear power and hydrogen energy.