The economic superpower is attempting to create national champions
Unveiling the plans at the National People’s Conference (NPC), called the China Manufacturing 2025, the new direction has sent alarm bells ringing in Brussels.
The economic superpower is attempting to create national champions in 10 high-tech manufacturing sectors by that year, including robotics, new energy vehicles and advanced medical technology.
But European businesses fear the drive will see Chinese producers flooding industries, sparking a protectionist backlash.
In response to China’s proposals, the EU Chamber of Commerce in Beijing published a 70-page scathing review of the proposals.
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Representing European business in China, the chamber said: “The broad set of policy tools that are being employed to facilitate CM2025’s development are highly problematic.”
The report’s release was timed to coincide with the NPC.
It read: “European business is facing intense pressure to turn over advanced technology in exchange for near-term market access.”
The chamber pointed to examples, such as in the car industry
The chamber pointed to examples, such as in the car industry, where foreign car-makers of electric models were being pressured to hand over their battery technology in exchange for being able to sell and produce in the country.
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But the Chinese have been accused of underhand practices, such as subsidising local producers of battery powered cars in breach of its commitments to the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Despite the option of taking up their grievances with the WTO, the European Union fears it may take too long and anger China.
CM2025’s development are highly problematic
EU Chamber of Commerce
At the opening of the NPC, China appears to address the concerns, saying in a government work report: “Foreign firms will be treated the same as domestic firms when it comes to license applications, standard-setting and government procurement, and will enjoy the same preferential policies under the Made in China 2025 initiative.”
Jörg Wuttke, president of the EU chamber, acknowledged China’s stance may spark protectionist calls within the EU, but urged nations not to create red tape.
European businesses fear the drive will see Chinese producers flooding industries
He said: “We are saying this not to encourage protection but with an eye to the rise of populism across Europe.”
The fresh proposals date back to 2015 when China unveiled its Made in China 2025 plan which was unusual, Mr Wuttke said, as it identified precise targets for domestic and foreign market.
The China Manufacturing 2025 was unveiled at the National People’s Conference
There are fears subsidised state-companies could swamp markets with Chinese goods, similar to other low-end manufacturing industries.
Mr Wuttke added: “China’s global champions are Huawei, Tencent and Alibaba, all private companies that are market-led.”
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