Is Our China Policy Hostage to Transatlantic Relations?

A follow-up to “China at the gates: A new power audit of EU – China relations” by François Godement & Abigaël Vasselier


François Godement, Director, Asia and China Programme, ECFR

Chaired by

Mark Leonard, Co-Founder and Director, ECFR

Europe – including the UK – is caught between Chinese and US trade policies and practices. China has mostly stonewalled European negotiators, but is responding to the harsh pressure tactics of the US. Even on intellectual property, high tech siphoning and investment screening where the US and EU share concerns, the US threats of immediate action go beyond WTO rules. Yet many Europeans recognize these WTO rules need to be rewritten – something that China is unlikely to accept easily, given the benefits it draws from the existing framework.

Responding to both challenges is divisive, within Europe and often within each member state. For the UK, the question of how to defend its own interests is even more urgent with its upcoming departure from the European Union. How can the UK and Europeans break the stranglehold of US action over their collective China policies?

François Godement (@FGodement) is Director of the Asia and China Programme at ECFR. He advises the Policy Planning Staff at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs on China policies. His most recent analysis includes Why China (probably) won’t go to trade war with America.

Mark Leonard (@markhleonard) is Director and Co-Founder of ECFR and author of the best-selling book What does China think?