US-Chinese Trade Causes EU Firms To Be Caught In Their Crossfire

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A business survey showed on Monday that European firms are “caught in the crossfire” of the US-China trade war.

According to the European Union chamber of commerce in China, the clash between Beijing and Washington does not benefit European companies, at all contrary to what some might have hoped at the beginning of the dispute last year. Very few are optimistic about their future in the world’s second-largest economy, a business survey showed on Monday.

Charlotte Roule, chamber vice president, said, “Now the trade tensions are seen as another uncertainty on the business environment, something that won’t be sorted out quickly whether there is a deal or not”.

The trade war is one of the top concerns for European firms in China (23 percent), after the Chinese economic slowdown (45 percent), the global economy (27 percent) and rising labor costs in China (23 percent), according to the survey. “The trade tensions, according to our members, are not good for business”. 

A quarter of European companies in China said they were already suffering from the US increase in tariffs on Chinese products as was suggested by a survey. The study, which received replies from 585 firms, was conducted in January, as trans-Pacific trade tensions eased.

Roule stressed, “The fundamental issues driving the trade war need to be resolved by addressing market access barriers and regulatory challenges while also tackling SOE reform and forced tech transfer.”

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang reiterated Beijing’s denial. “The authorities are saying there are no technology transfers any more but this is not what we see in our survey,” she said.

China remains one of the top three global destinations for future investment by 62 percent of the surveyed companies, a slight increase from last year, while 56 percent plan to expand their business in the country this year, despite all the problems.

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