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Why China, EU should jointly resist US’ decoupling push

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Wednesday had a virtual meeting with German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and they reached consensus on opposing economic decoupling. Wang said that major economies like China and Germany should jointly resist decoupling, and Maas noted that decoupling is not in any party’s interests, according to a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

As the US is busy trying to coerce allies to decouple from China, the German Foreign Minister’s comment on decoupling reflects European countries’ real opinion on the US’ political maneuver to preserve its hegemony. European countries are not expected to simply follow the US’ lead to crack down on China at the expense of their own interests.

Germany and other European countries are fully aware that the US’ decoupling push is against market principles and economic laws. From the Trump administration’s unilateralism to the Biden administration’s small clique, the US-centric approaches are essentially to serve the US’ economic and political interests, which hurt the development interests of most countries around the world, including US allies.

As major manufacturing and trading powers, Germany and China have common interests in maintaining stable global industrial and supply chains. China and Germany enjoy close and mutually beneficial cooperation in the automotive and other industries. China’s vast market is of great significance to the German car industry, and the two sides still have broad prospects for cooperation in electric vehicles and related fields.

The attempt to restructure the industrial chain pushed by the US is only to serve the interests of American companies. In addition, Germany and the US still have frictions on issues such as tariffs. The US has even threatened to impose sanctions against Germany over the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany.

Admittedly, China and the EU also have a complicated relationship with both competition and cooperation. Bilateral relations indeed faced a challenge after the EU imposed sanctions against China over “forced labor” claims regarding Northwest China’s Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.

But at this critical juncture, the EU should avoid being hijacked by the US-led small clique and imposing arbitrary unilateral sanctions based on false information. Instead, China and the EU should bridge their differences and promote economic and trade cooperation to help the post-COVID global recovery.

As the Chinese and German foreign ministers noted during their meeting, China and the EU should continue to carry out cooperation in fields including trade, investment, healthcare, clean energy, the digital economy and 5G technology.

Most importantly, China and the EU should promote vaccine cooperation. China and the EU share common grounds on this issue, with both supporting expansion of accessibility and supply of vaccines as a global public good. Notably, the European Medicines Agency has been reported to consider including China and Russia’s vaccines in its procurement system.

As for the industrial chain issue, the EU is very clear that the manufacturing sectors of some member states are already lagging behind, and that it is unrealistic to completely pull the industrial chain back to the EU. Therefore, the EU puts more emphasis on the globalization of the industrial chain. On this issue, Europe and the US have different positions. The EU supports multilateralism, and both China and Europe emphasize the stability of the global supply chain.

US anti-China politicians’ egregious decoupling approach undermines global industrial and value chains, and damages the interests of all parties. In terms of historical experience, this pan-politicization strategy can only shoot oneself in the foot. China is the most promising economy with a complete manufacturing chain and a dynamic market. Forcibly cut off cooperation with China is contrary to the wills of all parties and is doomed to fail.

In the digital age, the development of countries is inevitably to be highly integrated. The US should adjust its strategy designed based on the old zero-sum game mentality. Business is business. The US should deal with economic and trade issues in accordance with market principles and economic laws.

US politicians should adopt a strategy that is more responsible to their own consumers, businesses and other economies. The short-sighted and narrow approach of forcibly decoupling from China is damaging the long-term competitiveness and credibility of the US.
Source: Global Times

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