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Message ahead of EU-China Summit: De-risk while remaining engaged

China is one of the EU’s major trading partners, but the relationship is facing increasing challenges. It is important to address these issues, especially the unbalanced market access and the heavy subsidisation in China that leads to market distortions and overcapacities.

Ahead of the EU-China Summit that takes place this week in Beijing, BusinessEurope Director General Markus J. Beyrer addressed President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and President of the European Council Charles Michel in a letter outlining the main priorities for European business. Our trade and investment relations remain characterised by significant asymmetries, including a lack of reciprocity in market access and an uneven playing field in some sectors. The EU’s trade deficit with China has more than doubled since 2020 and stands now at €400bn. Additionally, the growing politization of the economy and business environment in China are growing concerns for European companies as well as the rising geopolitical tensions and conflicts worldwide. While the risk of over-dependency is fully recognised, we cannot afford to disengage from the Chinese market. China remains a major trade and investment partner for the EU and an important market for European companies. There are issues of global governance that will require the EU to continue engaging with China, particularly where multilateral solutions are needed, such as climate change, the reform of the multilateral trading system and the development of international standards. For these reasons, the EU should continue to engage with China in the areas where we have mutual interests and challenges, while firmly safeguarding our interests and values where we disagree.

Read the letter here.

Last updated: 6 December 2023