- EU Chamber: ‘Ideology trumps the economy’
- Beijing continues to build coal-fired power plants abroad
- Call for dialogue between Russia and Ukraine
- German exports increase
- Number of Chinese millionaires doubles
- ‘Lipstick brother’ back from exile
- Joint moon mission with the United Arab Emirates
- Benefits of bilateral climate cooperation
There has been no shortage of critical words in the annual position paper of the European Chamber of Commerce in Beijing in recent years. But the paper has never sounded as negative as it did now: “Ideology trumps the economy,” is the central statement, alluding to China’s adherence to zero-Covid, which no longer has any scientific basis. Also criticized is the general poorer climate between China and Europe.
The exodus of European companies from China has so far failed to materialize. And yet the Chamber of Commerce warns: confidence has waned and could be permanently damaged. European companies are already looking for alternatives in Southeast Asia and India, Christiane Kuehl quotes from the paper in her analysis. And: EU Chamber President Joerg Wuttke believes that an opening of the country in 2023 is by no means certain.
Equally disillusioning is that coal-fired power plants are built with the help of Chinese money around the globe. It was considered a “milestone in climate protection” when, exactly one year ago, Xi Jinping announced at the UN General Assembly, as the last major state donor to do so, that China would no longer finance coal-fired projects. The good news is that China’s wind and solar companies are also involved in numerous projects through foreign direct investment – and the trend is rising, as Nico Beckert writes in his analysis.
EU companies lose optimism
The opening words alone tell the reader all about the mood: “Although Europe and China already sit at opposite ends of a shared continent, it seems they are drifting further and further apart,” writes EU Chamber President Joerg Wuttke in this year’s position paper of the EU Chamber of Commerce in China. The paper’s central message is that “Ideology Trumps the Economy”.
According to the paper presented in Beijing on Wednesday, the focus of the debate in the European headquarters of many companies has shifted significantly when it comes to evaluating China in the past year. While discussions used to revolve primarily around investment opportunities in China, they now focus on problems: risk management, stable supply chains even outside China, or the difficulty of ensuring global compliance in the People’s Republic. And the Chamber asks, almost aghast, “How could China, author of the greatest growth story in history, lose its appeal as an investment destination so quickly?”
The paper also laments the situation based on current figures. China’s National Bureau of Statistics reported year-on-year growth of just 0.4 percent for the second quarter of 2022. In July 2022, the unemployment rate for 16- to 24-year-olds reached 19.9 percent – falling slightly to 18.7 percent in August. “Other significant internal challenges include China’s debt crisis, which has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as lending accelerated to help businesses recover.”