Will Europe Trade Deal Boost Pressure on China?

As the United States begins trade talks with Europe this week and prepares for the next round of negotiations with Japan and others on the multilateral Trans-Pacific Partnership, experts and business leaders expect the discussions to put pressure on China to come to the bargaining table or get left behind. From William Mauldin of The Wall Street Journal:

“China has to decide whether to conform and adapt to the norms of international trade or continue to be an outlier,” said Michael Wessel, member of the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission, a U.S. government agency created to monitor the trade and economic relationship between the two countries. “It puts pressure on them to do bilateral deals that might provide them with important access to key markets.”

European Union officials arrived in Washington to start talks Monday aimed at eliminating remaining tariffs on exports and imports, recognizing each other’s industry standards and granting easier market access for businesses across the Atlantic.

The two sides are looking to clinch deals that would open up their government contracting to foreign companies and allow for freer trade in goods and services. Such methods of lowering trade barriers are a tougher sell in many emerging-market economies such as China.

“Europe and the United States are not just going to wait for China—they’re going to move forward,” said Myron Brilliant, executive vice president for international affairs at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. [Source]

China signed a free trade pact with Iceland in April, its first-ever agreement with a European country, and last weekend reached a deal with Switzerland. From Reuters:

China’s commerce minister Gao Hucheng and Swiss Economy Minister Johann Schneider-Ammann inked the bilateral agreement in a ceremony in China’s capital city.

According to government news agency Xinhua, Gao described its free-trade agreement with Switzerland as a comprehensive and mutually beneficial pact that should contribute to increased trade between the two economies. [Source]


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