Cooperation is an equally central component of the Sinatra doctrine. I cannot stress enough the fact that cooperating with Beijing is essential to addressing global challenges effectively. The most obvious example is combating climate change. The EU accounts for 9 percent of worldwide emissions, while China is responsible for 28 percent. Even if we Europeans could, by some miracle, stop emitting CO2 tomorrow, this would not change things very much. We will succeed in effectively tackling climate change only if we manage to ensure that, together with our efforts on the climate, the big polluters such as China, the US and India follow suit and Africa takes a different development route from the one we took.
We are too interdependent to decouple economically from China, as the Trump administration is preaching. Coronavirus will change globalization, but it will not stop it. Although some analysts speak of a new Cold War, this reading is misleading because the US and the Soviet Union were never as economically interconnected as the US and China are now. As I have pointed out on a number of occasions, the stability of the dollar, and with it the stability of the entire capitalist system, is paradoxically highly dependent on the Communist Party of China - the term US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo uses to refer to China - as it is the second biggest owner of US Treasury bonds after Japan. Interdependence is just as extensive in Europe: EU-China trade amounts to well over €1 billion per day.
Moreover, the strategy of open confrontation with China has proven costly for the US. According to a Federal Reserve report, US tariffs did not increase employment or manufacturing output in the US, but they did increase production costs. Moody's Analytics estimates that the trade war has cost Washington roughly 300,000 jobs and 0.3 percent of the country's GDP. US economists calculate that the trade war will cost each US family $800 per year.
In response to those who wrongly advocate a new Cold War with a world divided into two blocs, the EU should promote its interests, but it should do so in close cooperation with countries that champion effective multilateralism and the primacy of international law.
If we want to use musical references to describe the state of EU-China relations, we could perhaps turn to the legendary song by Serge Gainsbourg and Jane Birkin, Je t'aime ... moi non plus, a song which marked my generation's youth, and which plays down the feelings and contradictions that form part of the eternally difficult relations between couples. Because in strategic relations, as in love, actions speak louder than words. Therefore, to put it in practical, specific terms, it is essential for Beijing to comply with its commitment to move towards a more balanced economic relationship between the EU and China by the end of 2020.
1China holds the most important position in the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). The country has the second most important role in the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organisation for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO), the World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO), the International Organisation for Intellectual Property (WIPO) and the World Bank.
Copyright : John THYS / AFP