Chinese, EU Experts Call For Free Trade Alliance

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China is now turning to the European Union (EU) for an ally in the trade war with the US. Leading Chinese think tank experts have asked Beijing and Brussels to forge an alliance to defend multilateralism and globalisation as the United States escalates trade tensions with China.

"We are clearly requesting the European Union to stand together and be our allies in defending multilateralism and globalisation," said Wei Jianguo, vice-chairman of the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, an influential Beijing-based think tank, in Brussels. Wei sent the message at a seminar in Brussels hosted by Bruegel, a well-known think tank, with the theme Peril and Potential: China-US-EU Trade Relations. European scholars have responded positively to Wei's suggestion.

Alicia Garcia-Herrero, senior fellow of Bruegel, said that the EU has so far done one thing right amid Sino-US trade tensions, which is that it has not taken sides. "But now, it has only one side to take," said Garcia-Herrero.

The dialogue was part of the Chinese think tank delegation's tour of Europe. The delegation, headed by Zhou Xiaochuan, president of the China Society for Finance and Banking and adviser to the China Center for International Economic Exchanges, met European experts in Geneva and Berlin to. Guntram B. Wolff, director of Bruegel, said "There are some worries about US President Donald Trump's announcements about trade."

Zhou Xiaochuan said he has two hypotheses on the Sino-US trade war, that the US eventually decides to build a free trade system that favours itself and adjusts the existing multilateral rules, or the US finally chooses to leave the free trade system in favour of protectionism.

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