EU-PRC Trade Relations

There’s a new tone in the relationship between the People’s Republic of China and the European Union. The two have agreed the following:

  • A commitment toward “broader” and “non-discriminatory” market access
  • On surrendering intellectual property to gain access to China’s market, both sides agreed “there should not be a forced transfer of technology”
  • Increase efforts to strengthen international rules against state subsidies for industries

A commitment. We’ve seen in US-PRC trade discussions over the years, in the PRC’s responses to WTO rulings—indeed its own commitments made as conditions to its accession to the WTO—in its treatment of those with whom it deals along its Belt and Road efforts, in its treatment of South China Sea rim nations the value of PRC commitments.

No forced transfer of technology.  But perhaps some encouragement.  “Nice company you got there. Be too bad if something was to happen to it.”  And not a word about required backdoors into a company’s proprietary or operating software so the PRC’s government men can come and go on the claim that those men need to ensure the company is…behaving.

Increase efforts regarding state subsidies.  The PRC will try very hard.

We’ll see if there’s more than just a change in tone.  I’m not holding my breath.  The EU, and the US, has a venerable history of credulity regarding the PRC’s rhetoric.

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