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European business leaders against decoupling from China: media

Xinhua | Updated: 2021-07-08 14:13

NEW YORK - A powerful European business lobby group has called on European Union (EU) politicians not to lock out Chinese businesses as advocated by some leaders who are following the United States' lead on limiting commercial ties to China, reported The Wall Street Journal recently.

Members of the European Round Table for Industry (ERT), a trade group of almost 60 chief executives and chairpersons of major Europe-based multinationals, had called on EU leaders to push for better business terms with China and not to turn away, the journal reported on Sunday.

"Many governments and EU officials have over recent months tilted more toward Washington," said the journal, adding, "the business leaders fear calls for decoupling from China, similar to ones in the US"

The lobby group also cautioned Brussels against using the COVID-19 economic shock to augment Europe's manufacturing and political autonomy in ways that become protectionist, according to the report.

"We have a clear concern that the concept of strategic autonomy could very easily lead into protectionism," ERT member Jacob Wallenberg was quoted as saying. Wallenberg is the chairman of Swedish holding company Investor AB and deputy chairman of telecommunications giant Ericsson AB.

Members of the group also include leaders of German carmakers BMW AG and Daimler AG, energy giants Royal Dutch Shell PLC, TotalEnergies SE of France and Italy's Eni SpA, and British pharmaceutical firms AstraZeneca PLC and GlaxoSmithKline PLC. Many of ERT members have significant operations and investments in both the United States and China.

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