The Changing Scope of International Economic Relations – Chinese Leadership in the 21st Century

By Svetoslav, BG

 China Unlimited Europe 2015The crisis in Ukraine from March 2014 sparked a fire between the West and Russia that will smoulder long after its resolution. The conflict carries the potential for enormous repercussions – social, political, and economic – for both sides. With the outstripping growth of many Asian economies – China, South Korea, Singapore, inter alia – and the said crisis, the increasingly eastward focus of international economic relations gathered even more momentum.

Exemplar is the deal signed in May 2014 between the Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in the amount of USD 400 billion for the transit of gas. After failing to secure fruitful relations with the West since the end of the Cold War, Russia, with the stroke of a pen, “significantly shifted its economic relations with its neighbors, creating a major new export market to the east” [1]. Moreover, all top 10 container ports in the world for 2014 are Asian, seven of which – Chinese[2]. This is another illustration of the economic upsurge of the East, and in particular – the growing importance of China in global trade which exports in 2009[3] surpassed that of Germany to become the leading exporting nation.

Economic relations between the two biggest trading blocs – the European Union (EU) and China – have tripled in the last 10 years (148 billion EUR in 2003; 428 billion EUR in 2013[4]), but are yet to flourish. The bilateral relations between China and EU Member States have been more active than the bilateral relations between China and the EU as a whole. However, 2013 was marked by two major breakthroughs. The first half of the year saw a development of the matter with the sales of Chinese solar panels in Europe, while the second was determined by an EU-China summit in Beijing which resulted in the signing of the ‘EU-China 2020 Strategic Agenda for Co-operation’. “[…] by pushing suddenly for a free trade treaty and hinting that it is open to talks with the US on joining the TPP, China may have switched the issue again at the top of the EU-China relationship.“ (European Council on Foreign Relations, 2014). Although this is a humble beginning, it shows that China and the European Union are realizing that they should step up their relations if they would like to remain leaders in commerce and seek even more active bilateral engagements.

By the beginning of the 7th century, China was one of the most prosperous and renowned civilisations worldwide. In economic and military terms – its power “dwarfed that of neighbouring peoples.” (The Economist, 2014). Currently, China is assiduously knocking at the door of the USA to soon claim again its spot as the world’s leading economy. But is economy the main indicator of a country’s strength? The Chinese elites are challenged by a huge-scale poverty, which outstrips any other country with the exception of India (The Economist, 2014).  Nonetheless, despite that PRC’s environment situation in many cities is in dire straits, some analysts regard that as providing even more leeway for economic development – by creating more jobs for ecologists, economists and political scientists fighting against climate change and pollution. In this regard, China could cooperate with the European Union, a ferocious supporter of environmental politics, on best practices and experience exchange. The newly elected President of the European Commission – Jean-Claude Juncker – reaffirmed this: “I strongly believe in the potential of green growth. I therefore want Europe’s Energy Union to become the world number one in renewable energies.” (Juncker, 2014). If Chinese authorities would like to have a leading role in the economic race, they should undoubtedly embrace a more sustainable yet more fervent environmental approach. It seems that this is inscribed in Xi Jinping’s model of Beautiful China – healthy environment, low pollution (The New York Times, 2013).

In July 2014, China was the leader in establishing the New Development Bank in Shanghai, members of which are all BRICS countries and which looks like an inexperienced substitute of the World Bank, “leading to a talk of a “Chinese Breton Woods”. “China’s people and leaders feel their nation’s time has come once again” (The Economist, 2014). In general, Chinese foreign policy is vehemently opposed to regime change and pursues little or no interference at all in other countries’ internal affairs. It vetoed against the military interventions of the West in Syria and Darfur and refrained from taking a position on the annexation of Crimea by Russia. In the US-Russia-China triangle, the central player will be China, rather than the United States of America (Russia in Global Affairs, 2014).

China’s remarkable growth rates of more than 10% in the last thirty years has led it to become the world’s second largest economy by nominal GDP[5] and the world’s largest manufacturing economy and the biggest exporter of goods[6]. However, in mid-2014 China’s growth has slowed and the country announced new plans. Having “conquered” the international trade, the PRC must now focus on reforms to increase domestic consumption and improve its internal infrastructure and overall well-being of its people (Beijing Bulletin, 2014).

To augment its image as a super power, will it adopt a different approach of more Chinese engagement, thus marching contrary to its current foreign policy, or will it be able to resist the temptation? “[…] China stands on the verge of greatness.” (The Economist, 2014). Xi Jinping developed the concept of the Chinese dream – the “great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation” or the “Two 100s” – turning China into a moderately well-off society by 2020, which marks the 100thanniversary of the Chinese Communist Party, and China becoming a fully developed nation by 2049, which marks the 100th anniversary of the People’s Republic (The New York Times, 2013). Will this dream of the current Chinese president materialise? The following decades could prove to be the most challenging of all.

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/china-russia-sign-400-billion-gas-deal/2014/05/21/364e9e74-e0de-11e3-8dcc-d6b7fede081a_story.html

[2] http://www.worldshipping.org/about-the-industry/global-trade/top-50-world-container-ports”>http://www.worldshipping.org/about-the-industry/global-trade/top-50-world-container-ports

[3] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/10/AR2010011002647.html”>http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/01/10/AR2010011002647.html

[4] https://www.tresor.economie.gouv.fr/8677_les-relations-economiques-entre-la-chine-et-lunion-europeenne-

[5] http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/GDP-ranking-table”>http://data.worldbank.org/data-catalog/GDP-ranking-table

[6] http://blog-imfdirect.imf.org/2013/12/02/china-fastest-growing-consumer-market-in-the-world/

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

Advertising

the European Sting Milestones

Featured Stings

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

Italian banks: It’s Rome’s turn to confront Berlin’s aggressiveness

We generate 125,000 jumbo jets worth of e-waste every year. Here’s how we can tackle the problem

Deal agreed to protect consumers against misleading and unfair practices

Jellyfish are taking over the world – and climate change could be to blame

EU Commission: Germany can make Eurozone grow again just by helping itself

Ocean life faces ‘onslaught of threats’ from human activity, but tools exist to save it

Brussels wins game and match in Ukraine no matter the electoral results

Is Data Privacy really safe seen through Commissioner’s PRISM?

Taking fast road to ‘e-mobility’ central to a sustainable future: COP24

ISIS fighters fleeing Mosul for Syria can topple Assad. Why did the US now decide to uproot them from Iraq?

More than four in 10 women, live in fear of refusing partner’s sexual demands, new UN global study finds

Vĕra Jourová, European Commissioner in charge of Justice

The New EU-US “Shield” for data privacy is full of holes

The International Federation of Medical Students’ Associations (IFMSA) on the arrest of Turkish Medical Association leaders

Crackdown on Christians in Eritrea spurs UN expert to press Government ‘to live up to its international commitments’

It’s not just the protests. Here’s how young people are helping the planet

UN experts report: Business ‘dragging its feet’ on human rights worldwide

EU budget: Commission proposes €1.26 billion to reinforce the European Solidarity Corps

European creativity and digital economy are drowning in a copyright swamp

A Sting Exclusive: “The EU Cybersecurity Act for a more secure and cyber-resilient European Digital Single Market”, by EU Commissioner Gabriel

2013, a Political Odyssey: What future for Italy?

MEPs react to breaches of human rights in Moldova, Burundi and Somalia

Innovation and Entrepreneurship Changing the Face of Europe

Norway’s electric car market has overtaken traditional vehicle sales

Families deserve answers when loved ones go missing in conflict: Security Council adopts historic resolution

Modern farming is harming the planet. Tech-driven permaculture could heal it

If you live in a big city you already smoke every day

Eurobarometer: Not a single answer about what the Banking Union will cost to citizens

Sweden’s forests have doubled in size over the last 100 years

We can save the Earth. Here’s how

Afghanistan: top UN official denounces ‘extreme’ suffering of civilians in Ghazni

Righting a wrong: UN Fund helps thousands of sex abuse survivors rebuild their lives

The West castigates Turkey’s Erdogan for the ruthless political cleansing

How leaders can use ‘agile governance’ to drive tech and win trust

A European young student shares his thoughts on Quality Education

Tuesday’s Daily Brief: UNESCO ready to help after Notre Dame fire, and updates on Libya, Nicaragua, and the Cyclone Idai response

ECB describes in detail how it exploits the poor

The US calls off globalization, targets Germany. Paris offer to Berlin comes at a cost

Better training ‘a necessary and strategic investment’ in peacekeeping that saves lives: Guterres

Trade negotiations with US can start under certain conditions

What makes America the world’s most competitive economy?

More than one billion people do not have access to electricity. What will it take to get them connected?

The Shifting Rhythms of Harmonious China: Ancient, Modern & Eternal

This Chinese megacity is building a giant waste-to-energy plant

European Youth Forum @ European Business Summit 2014: European Youth Unemployment

“Decisions taken in the coming weeks will shape Europe’s experience of the internet”, Joe Mcnamee from EDRi says live from European Business Summit 2015

WEF Davos 2016 LIVE: “If we do not do properly the Paris agreement, then all 16 remaining goals will be undermined”, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon cautions from Davos

EU’s new environmental policy on biofuels impacts both the environment and the European citizen

Two-thirds of global drug deaths now from opioids: UN drugs report

China invites the EU to a joint endeavor for free trade and order in the world

The US repelled EU proposals on common rules for banks

Eurozone hasn’t escaped the deflation danger

Despite violence, ‘tremendous hunger’ for peace in Afghanistan: top UN official

Does the West play the Syrian game in Egypt?

Mali: Presidential elections critical to consolidate democracy, says UN peacekeeping chief

Take-home pay growing at lowest level since 2008, as gender-gap persists: UN labour agency

Guterres underlines climate action urgency, as UN weather agency confirms record global warming

G20 starts to tackle inequality

UN chief hails victory of ‘political will’ in historic Republic of North Macedonia accord

Obama, Crimea and the TTIP pill

GSMA Mobile 360 Series –Digital Societies, in association with The European Sting

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s