Table of Contents

China, the European Union and the Developing World

China, the European Union and the Developing World

A Triangular Relationship

Leuven Global Governance series

Edited by Jan Wouters, Jean-Christophe Defraigne and Matthieu Burnay

China, the European Union and the Developing World provides a comparative analysis of Chinese and EU influence across five different regions of the developing world: Asia-Pacific; South and Central Asia; the Middle East and North Africa; Sub-Saharan Africa; and Latin America. While there is broad acknowledgement that the importance of China is rising across the developing world, this book offers a comprehensive and comparative account of the relative increase of the Chinese presence in the various different regions. It highlights its impact on the relationship between the EU and the developing world regions and shows how the rise of China affects the relations between these regions and Europe.

Introduction: China, the European Union and the developing world: analysing and comparing a triangular relationship region by region

Matthieu Burnay, Jean-Christophe Defraigne and Jan Wouters

Subjects: asian studies, asian law, asian politics and policy, development studies, law and development, law - academic, asian law, european law, law and development, regulation and governance, politics and public policy, asian politics, european politics and policy, international relations, regulation and governance


By the late 15th century, China’s economy had become essentially inward-looking as the Chinese leadership embraced self-centred and isolationist notions in managing their territory. Due to its sheer size, China remained the largest economy in the world until the mid-19th century and the Chinese market exerted significant influence on internation al trade. Pomeranz has shown how the Chinese demand for silver enabled Europe to gain a dominant position in international trade through its exploitation of American colonies and helped Europe avoid development deadlocks, facilitating the rise of industrialisation (Pomeranz 2000). Nevertheless, contrary to Western European powers, China’s role remained passive: it did not seek to control the international trade system. Between the 16th and the late 19th centuries, through colonisation or gunboat diplomacy and thanks to their institutional innovations, the modern Western European powers created a new world economy in which feudal entities of the non-Western world were forced to participate by opening up to trade and investment driven by Western merchants and companies. In that process, China lost a substantial part of its national sovereignty and did not play an important role in world affairs until 1945.