lørdag 2. januar 2021

China-EU trade deal strengthens Beijing’s hand in power game with the US

The landmark investment treaty China and the European Union struck on Wednesday was nearly seven years in the making, giving the distinct impression of long, drawn-out negotiations. Indeed, for much of the previous six years, Beijing had dragged its feet and instead focused on satisfying Washington’s demands, leaving Brussels increasingly weary and frustrated.But dynamics have changed since the beginning of last year, when Beijing finally began substantive discussions in earnest, and from July it accelerated the pace of talks. Over the past five months, Chinese negotiators reportedly underwent a role reversal, aggressively pursuing their European counterparts for breakthroughs so both sides could clinch the deal by a year-end deadline mutually agreed in 2019.

The fact that Beijing was able to make enough concessions and wrap up the talks in a mere 10 months, after years of procrastination, says a lot about China’s reimagined diplomatic priorities for a post-Covid-19 world.