EU asks the USA to stop bullying it against China

Key Takeaways:

  • The United States has imposed fresh limitations on tech exports to China
  • The Biden administration wants European Partners to limit their trade with Beijing
  • The EU is too dependent on China and is strengthening its ties instead
The United States (USA) wants its European partners to impose trade limitations on China. The EU is too dependent on China to follow the US
The United States expects the EU to impose trade restrictions on China. Photo by Christian Lue 

YEREVAN ( — The United States (USA) is going after China and wants its partners in Europe to join in. However, President Joe Biden’s attempts to create a larger alliance against the Asian giant may eventually fail. The European Union (EU) is too dependent on China. It simply can’t back the USA against it.

Ever since he took power, President Biden has ramped up the anti-China rhetoric coming from the country. Several US officials have voiced concerns that US companies may eventually suffer heavy losses owing to the competition coming from China. 

European countries do not dispute that the world’s second-largest economy is a threat. Many point out that the continent’s dependence on Russia for its energy security needs has been a large mistake. Since the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine, the continent is paying a heavy price for having granted Russia so much leverage. 

To many people, Europe’s dependence on China, which is also an authoritarian regime, is equally bad. Calls to reassess trade relations with Beijing have since intensified. 

However, EU economic obligations suggest that a move away from China will not be easy. Even if it comes at the cost of a strained relationship with the United States, EU countries will continue to have strong ties with the country and its Communist regime. 

European Union (EU) economy in crisis

The economy of the European Union is in shambles. The Covid-19 pandemic, which disrupted global supply chains thanks to the lockdowns, inflicted huge blows on the Eurozone. 

The ongoing war in Europe, caused by Russia’s aggression on Ukraine, has made matters much worse. 

In its latest report, the European Commission (EC) slashed its growth forecasts for 2023 to 0.3% in both the EU and the euro area. This is a significant drop from its summer forecast of 1.5%.   

The commission also predicted a technical recession in the EU, owing to economic troubles. 

Annual inflation in the Euro area is expected to be 10.0% in November 2022.

Inflation in October reached a record high in the 19 eurozone countries. In Germany, among the hardest hit, inflation reached 11.6%. Italy and France were also impacted, with each recording price hikes at 12.8% and 7.1% respectively.

“The contraction of economic activity is set to continue in the first quarter of next year. The EU and euro area, and most Member States, are therefore expected to experience a technical recession this winter,” 

the report reads. 

Energy prices jumped 41.9% while food, alcohol, and tobacco registered a 13.1% price growth. 

Meanwhile, there seems to be no respite in sight. The European Commission expects inflation to remain high. According to the executive body, prices in the EU will rise 9.3% year-on-year and will stay high at 7% in 2023. This is up from the previous forecasts of 8.3% and 4.6% respectively. Unemployment in the EU will also reach 6.5% in 2023.

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Sorry USA- the EU is too dependent on China

The European Union in particular, and Europe at large, has become too reliant on China for trade. Many EU companies look for opportunities to invest in the country’s economy. 

In the import and export sector, the interdependence of the EU and China is immense.

China is the EU’s biggest import partner. 22% of all imports into the European Union come from China, according to 2021 statistics. Moreover, the Asian economic powerhouse is the third-largest importer of EU goods, amounting to 10% of the total imports. 

European Union's goods trade with China is vital for the EU economy. It cannot back the steps of of the United States (USA) against China
European Union’s goods trade with China is vital for the EU economy. Graph from Eurostat

According to the United Nations COMTRADE database on international trade, EU exports to China amounted to $260.61 Billion in 2021. 

Meanwhile, the United States has imposed fresh sanctions on its tech exports to China. As the self-styled leader of the Western alliance, it now wants the EU to do the same.

While acknowledging the Asian giant’s ever-growing influence, the European Commission knows well that “China matters to the EU“.

“On the international stage China is now a heavyweight, both economically and financially. China is the EU’s second biggest trading partner. As a consequence, China’s political, economic and social development matter to the EU more than ever,” 

the EC website reads

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Crumbling alliance over China

The demands of the United States from its EU partners are selfish and insensitive. Europe has already paid a heavy price by joining the US-led alliance against Russia. 

By pressurizing EU countries not to compensate for their losses by doing business with China, the US is pushing them to commit suicide.

However, the message from the EU has been clear. They will not give a cold shoulder to Beijing. 

At the Brussels Indo-Pacific Forum last week, Josep Borrell, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, did not mince his words. 

“The truth is also that a vast majority of Indo-Pacific and European countries do not want to be trapped into an impossible choice. They don’t want to have to choose either the US or China. We don’t want a world that is split into two camps,” 

Borrell said regarding Washington’s expectations. 

The influence of the US on the EU is waning. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, traveled to Beijing on 1 December to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping. This is the first in-person meeting in around 4 years. 

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel met Xi Jinping in Beijing as the EU tries to avoid pressure from the United States to sideline China
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel met Xi Jinping in Beijing

The visit comes a month after German Chancellor Olaf Scholz visited Beijing despite widespread criticism. Under huge economic pressure and amid anti-government protests, Europe is looking to China to bail them out. 

The rift comes amid accusations coming from Europe that the USA is profiting from the war in Ukraine. In an interview with POLITICO, Josep Borrell blamed Washington for making decisions that are disastrous for the EU. 

“Americans take decisions which have an economic impact on us,

Borrell told reporters.

There is an element of truth in Borrell’s words. The US is being self-centered in expecting its European partners to forgo their interests. It is clear, that the EU is too dependent on China to back the US in this.

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