Some said the deal was premature and could come at the cost of a reboot of the transatlantic alliance Biden has set as a priority in his multilateral approach to countering China.
George Magnus, a research associate at Oxford University’s China Centre, said the EU appeared to have conceded leverage for seemingly very little in return.
The agreement was unlikely to become a platform for the deepening of EU-China relations or even pave the way to a free-trade agreement, but it was a good move for China “without having to make major concessions commercially or any on labour standards and rights, which the EU is normally very robust about”, he said.
According to Gal Luft, co-director of Institute for the Analysis of Global Security, a think tank in Washington, the EU’s move was a deliberate attempt to take advantage of the power vacuum in the US.
“Concluding it in the interregnum period ensures that the outgoing administration will have no time to penalise Brussels while the new one will have no chance to weigh in,” he said.
“This shows that the EU, despite its misgivings about China’s behaviour and policies, wants to remain an independent player and is unwilling to be dragged into the US-China power struggle.”
The last couple of months of 2020 ushered in three significant trade deals. That gives those of us who think globalisation is under threat something to contemplate. If we consider exactly what these agreements mean, it supports rather than negates the view we are entering a multipolar world.Click HERE to subscribe to Fuller Treacy Money Back to top