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Talks only way to prevent trade war

chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2024-06-23 20:07

Although Vice-Chancellor of Germany and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck does not represent the European Commission, his three-day visit to China, which concluded on Sunday, has helped to ease tensions between China and the European Union over the issue to a certain degree.

In his packed itinerary that consisted of stops in Beijing, Shanghai and Hangzhou, Habeck not only met with business leaders of both China and Germany, he also had face-to-face meetings with Chinese Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao and Minister of the National Development and Reform Commission Zheng Shanjie in Beijing on Saturday.

Habecks respective meetings with the Chinese commerce chief and head of the country's economic policymaking body have served to reinforce the two sides' consensus on the need to avoid a damaging trade war and produced some concrete bilateral cooperation agreements and projects on trade facilitation, the green economy and energy.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Germany. Both have been beneficiaries of economic globalization, and the two countries' economic interests are deeply intertwined. Both Beijing and Berlin know clearly that cooperation poses no risk, but that decoupling does.

Habeck's hosts reaffirmed that China is willing to work with Germany to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation between the two sides' enterprises, create an open and fair competition environment, and inject more positive energy into the healthy and stable development of China-Germany and China-EU economic and trade relations.

The productive exchanges during Habeck's visit clearly convey the common pro-free trade stance of the EU's largest economy and the world's second-largest economy, as well as their joint concerns over the dire implications of the European Commission's planned punitive tariffs on Chinese EVs. If implemented, the tariffs will unavoidably plunge the EU and China into a damaging trade war that will actually harm the EU's green transition and consumers' interests, as Habeck said. Beijing's announcement that it is launching an anti-dumping probe into imports of EU pork products indicates that China will resolutely defend its legitimate rights and interests.

The EU launched its anti-subsidy investigation on Chinese EVs in October, without any application from member states or the industry. And the details that have been disclosed regarding the investigation clearly indicate that the probe and the resulting planned punitive tariffs violate World Trade Organization rules. By adopting such protectionist measures, the EU aims to suppress the development of Chinese companies, which is doomed to failure, and will not help boost the global competitiveness of the EU's EV companies either.

As both China and Germany urge, Brussels should try and resolve its differences with Beijing through dialogue and consultation in good faith. In that sense, it is good to hear that after a video conference between the Chinese commerce chief and Executive Vice-President of European Commission Valdis Dombrovskis on Saturday, the two sides have agreed to launch consultations on the EU's anti-subsidy investigations into Chinese EVs.

If the EU is sincere in sitting down at the negotiating table, China is also willing to engage in dialogue to try and resolve the reasonable concerns of the EU. It is to be hoped that the EU will strive to avoid the expansion and escalation of trade frictions in a rational and professional manner by meeting China halfway in that direction.

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