European companies call for a tougher EU approach to China

BRUSSELS: European companies called European Union Policy makers on Thursday will tighten their focus on China to ensure equal conditions for European companies.

BusinessEurope, an organization that brings together business federations from 35 countries, said China was the most restrictive trading partner in the EU, with numerous barriers to investment, strict requirements for joint ventures and its closed procurement market for companies in the EU.

The EU must reconsider its modus operandi towards China and put more emphasis on reciprocity and conditionality, BusinessEurope said in a report aimed at European Comission and EU governments.

He stressed the disparity in market access between Chinese and foreign companies, financial advantages for Chinese companies in strategic sectors, cheap land and energy, and Beijing's support for some Chinese industries.

The EU is the largest trading partner of China, and China is the second largest in the EU. Business Europe He urged the EU to speak with one voice about China and share knowledge about the country, and suggested that China's policies be his top priority.

There were no immediate comments on China's report.

The head of BusinessEurope, Marcus Beyrer, told reporters that China was interested in rebalancing the relationship with Europe because a continuation would change the architecture of the global economy to the detriment of export-oriented China.

It was also a bad idea for China to fight Commerce wars on two fronts, Beyrer said, given Beijing was already in a Commerce conflict with the United States.

The United States and China signed an initial Commerce deal on Wednesday that will roll back some tariffs and boost Chinese purchases of US products, defusing an 18-month row between the world's two largest economies but leaving a number of sore spots unresolved.

Beijing and Washington touted the "Phase 1" agreement as a step forward after months of start-and-stop talks, and investors greeted the news with relief. Even so, there was skepticism the US-China Commerce relationship was now firmly on the mend.