Beijing [China]: A multitude of economic and political factors which includes the ongoing geopolitical tensions amid the war in Ukraine, China’s anti-business ‘Zero Covid’ policy, human rights violations, and the Taiwan Strait Conflict have deteriorated the relations between China and Europe, media reports said.
Due to these, European countries are increasing scurrying to look out for new options as they continue to remain hesitant to new investments in China amid economic uncertainty, The Singapore Post reported. China became Europe’s biggest trading partner just a few years ago. According to New York-based Rhodium Group, European investment in China has been through a few big companies. “Virtually no new European firms have chosen to enter the Chinese market in recent years,” said the group.
“A few big firms are propping up the numbers there. Many others are reassessing their presence,” said Noah Barkin, the managing editor of Rhodium’s China practice.
Moreover, Nomura Holdings, a global financial services group, has downgraded its forecast for China’s 2023 annual growth to 4.3 per cent from 5.1 per cent. Goldman Sach too slashed the growth to 4.5 per cent from the earlier projection of 5.3 per cent, reported The Singapore Post.
Nowadays, countries like Britain are openly expressing their dismay with Chinese policies. China’s human rights violations of its minority communities in Xinjiang, Tibet, and violation of basic rights in Hong Kong and security threats are among the reason why the west is keeping its distance from China in terms of new investment and economic activities.
In a display of disagreement towards the Chinese policies, the UK has blocked Chinese tech giant Huawei. It has also revoked the license of the Chinese broadcaster CGTN, and granted refuge to millions of dissenters from Hong Kong.
Raising security concerns, the UK ended up selling chip design software to a Chinese company. Apart from the UK, another major European economy Germany is moving away from China.
In what experts perceive as a comment discouraging trade with China, German Economy Minister and Vice-Chancellor Robert Habeck said, “The time of naivety toward China is over.”
“The German government no longer wants to provide incentives for German companies to expand business in China,” said Tim Ruhlig of the German Council on Foreign Relations.
European Union Chamber of Commerce in China president Jorg Wuttke in a veiled reference to China’s rights violation of its minorities said “Ideology trumps the economy…Predictability has been challenged by frequent and erratic policy shifts. China is not the stable sourcing destination that it used to be.”
“If China persists with such an approach, the business environment will continue to become more challenging…European companies no longer attach great importance to the China market,” the chamber said in its 2022-23 position paper.