Edited by David Deese
Chapter 14: The EU, China and trade in ‘green’ technologies: cooperation and conflict
Since the Chinese leadership handover in November 2012, little has changed in the overarching dynamics of Sino-European economic relations. Trade and investment relations, a mainstay of the relationship over the past decades, have continued to solidify despite the financial crisis in Europe. They have led to the increased importance of China as a market and a source of inward investment. Behind the headlines of quotas, antidumping measures and other trade conflicts, China and the EU are key to each other’s economic survival, as the EU is China’s top trade partner and China is the EU’s second partner. Within the current environment, where policy-makers across the world propose exporting their way out of the crisis (particularly in high-value technological and knowledge-based products and services), their relative dependence on one another increases further. As both partners turn to the ‘greening’ of the economy as a response to the crisis, the opportunities for cooperation, as well as the risks of competition in the relationship, are heightened. The 2012–13 EU–China solar panel trade dispute and the 2011–12 dispute over rare earth mineral exports are significant examples of this new reality. Drawing on official policy documents and material from open-ended personal interviews with policy-makers and diplomats, this chapter presents an overview of these disputes within the context of the overarching Sino-European economic relationship.
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