Institutions, Policies and Challenges
Edited by Normann Witzleb, Alfonso Martínez Arranz and Pascaline Winand Winand
Chapter 14: China and the European Union: high hopes, clear conflicts
The European Union (EU) is China’s most important trading partner. For Europeans, as for many others, China represents the future. The EU is also seen with positive sentiment from China. Indeed, Chinese elites harboured hopes that a stronger Union would help build a multipolar world and contain US attempts at hegemony. The recent crisis of the EU has largely dampened those hopes. In addition, both sides also seem unable to transcend ideological differences and build on the extensive trade relations. Yet both China and EU member states have not hesitated to circumvent EU-based initiatives in favour of their bilateral advantage through political (France) or economic (Germany) ties. This chapter presents an overview of these issues and their possible causes and culminates with an analysis of the EU-China trading dispute around solar panels, which in many respects showcases the impediments to building an overarching cooperation strategy. Its successful resolution, however, seems to bode well for the future of the bilateral relations
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