Why doesn’t the EU notice the new double digit growth of EU-China trade?

(Credit: Unsplash)

Recently the results of the EU-China trade for the first quarter of 2022 came out and scored an impressive 10.2% growth and yet the EU media and policy makers remained mute. Why is that so?

Obviously, the world economy has been hit hard by an explosive mix of the war in Ukraine coupled with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and this kind of trade growth is perceived as “nothing” more than a slim glimmer of hope for the EU economy that is going down the grotesque path of over-inflation, plentiful energy crises and consequently Europeans’ impoverishment? A sane political analyst would thus anticipate at least a press release from the European Commission on this double digit growth creating some hope to the Europeans by showing how the EU’s huge trading partner, China, still remains EU’s powerful crutch to move on with a hope for prosperity, eventually.

But no, this didn’t happen in Brussels or elsewhere, simply because the EU leaders have been increasingly careless these days with their gigantic trading partner. And yes, one might say that the EU leadership is super busy sanctioning Russia, in numerous stages that we have lost count in order to keep our interest going. Nevertheless, an effective EU means tackling the diplomacy and security issues of the war in your neighbourhood while at the same time looking after your important trading partner, noticing the growth of the trade relations and nurturing them further up. At the end of the day it was the EU-China trade relations that grew and not the ones with the US, if one puts aside the small energy aid that Washington supplied the EU with, which won’t last for the EU to keep the lights switched on for a month if Putin pulls the plug.

Another positive news in the China-EU relations that wasn’t picked up by the EU media’s radar was clearly also the fact that China recently adhered to two ILO Conventions on forced labour. Already, the ILO celebrated that as big news for human rights. But the EU left that unnoticed, and that is really an oxymoron given the EU’s previous strict criticism against China on human rights. The ILO news is already a significant step forward from the Chinese side that should have brought the two sides closer already as it relates to the discourse on human rights.

Instead, the EU and the world prefer to be more and more critical on China these days for the strict COVID-19 lockdowns in major Chinese cities. And indeed, the lockdowns in China are strict but for the sake of fairness let’s go back for a minute to 2020 and the beginning of the pandemic, shall we? The world was also shocked at that time and super critical of China’s strong lockdown, while the EU for instance was taking it easy. However, it was also China back then that contained and scrapped the virus, leading Wuhan and other parts of China to go back to normality and growth within months, while the EU struggled for years with a plethora of back to back pandemic waves, surge in cases, ample panic and lots of economic decadence.

So, let’s get this right and factual. China’s strict lockdowns at the beginning of the pandemic proved to be successful whereas the EU’s lockdowns didn’t. Would it be then daring for someone to think that perhaps China takes the pandemic and its impact more seriously than the rest of the world? Could it be that their pandemic analysts, who proved to be right before, forecast now a new ultra strong COVID-19 pandemic wave that could bring the world down to its knees, in combination with the war in Ukraine etc.?

The above questions are rhetorical and when someone rushes to discard the odds of the above prospects, then either he plays God through media hype or He is.

The point of this article in sought of a balanced viewpoint on EU’s relations with China is to note that in the very turbulent times humanity faces whereby the biggest war conflict in Europe after World War II lingers, unprecedented inflation impoverishes people and nobody knows how on earth we will be able to turn on the heating in the coming winter, our good tax-free eurocrats must manage well all that and simultaneously must make time to look after the relations with the gigantic trade partners like China.

If the EU jumps below the bar on nurturing trade growth with China right now, then the darkest pop scenarios for a brand new global economic crisis at the end of this year might come true after all, but then Brussels should also shoulder its share of responsibility for neglecting trade relations whatsoever.

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