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After a break of almost two years, Brussels and Beijing have again exchanged views on trade issues in a separate dialogue format. EU Vice President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He discussed, among other things, supply bottlenecks due to the Covid pandemic, dependency on critical raw materials, and the impact of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, human rights abuses in Xinjiang, which the European supply chain law aims to prosecute more severely, were not addressed, reports Amelie Richter. After the disastrous EU-China summit in April, the European side apparently wanted the trade dialogue to be constructive and to again find common ground.
For lack of alternatives, real estate has been a safe and lucrative investment for China’s citizens for a long time. This confidence was shattered, at the latest since the demise of real estate giant Evergrande. The market is still in an extremely dire situation, our team reports from Beijing. In many places, the construction of houses and apartments has fallen massively behind schedule. Homebuyers across the country are now threatening to stop making their mortgage payments if their purchased real estate is not ready soon. Other buyers fear that their apartments may have fallen in value after completion. This is a shock for the Chinese, who have long believed that real estate can only increase in value. The state now wants to help developers obtain loans more easily to faster complete constructions. Beijing wants to quell a wildfire that could jeopardize social stability.
Rapprochement at trade dialogue
As EU Director-General for Trade Sabine Weyand quite fittingly summarized yesterday: “Many problems have accumulated since the last high-level trade dialogue in 2020,” she wrote on Twitter after the first trade talks between Brussels and Beijing in just over two years. The shelved CAI investment agreement and the trade embargo against EU member Lithuania are just two of those problems – the list of agenda items for the 9th meeting of the so-called EU-China High-Level Economic and Trade Dialogue (HED for short) was long.
EU Vice President and Trade Commissioner Valdis Dombrovskis and Chinese Vice Premier Liu He discussed supply shortages due to the Covid pandemic as well as the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as the EU Commission informed after the talks. The EU “took note of China’s willingness to work together on ensuring the stability of global markets and tackling global food insecurity, including through the export of fertilizers,” a statement from Brussel said.
It was also agreed that the disruption of supply chains must be prevented. There is to be more transparency in information on supplies of certain critical raw materials (China.Table reported). There was progress regarding cooperation on financial services. However, also addressed were the deteriorating business environment for European companies in China, market-distorting subsidies, and the role of state-owned enterprises. So were the economic pressures exerted on Lithuania and the next steps towards a WTO reform.