Opinion / Op-Ed Contributors

'Landslide' EU vote result is less than it may appear

By Fu Jing (China Daily) Updated: 2016-05-16 07:54

'Landslide' EU vote result is less than it may appear

Members of the European Parliament take part in a voting session in Strasbourg, France, April 12, 2016. [Photo/Agencies]

On Thursday, the European Parliament passed a resolution refusing to treat China as a market economy. The resolution, which is not legally binding, is intended to help the European Commission, the EU's executive body, make a final decision.

Out of the members present, 546 voted against treating China as market economy, 77 abstained and only 28 members voted in favor. As a result, many hailed it as a "landslide" decision.

Despite the numbers, the vote is actually not convincing at all.

First of all, trade rules, anti-dumping and cost calculations are extremely technical and, to some extent, most European Parliament members are no different from passers-by on the streets in terms of their knowledge of the issues involved.

They are prone to be influenced by biased reports (bear in mind one of the widely-circulated reports on this topic is from a think tank based in the United States) and many of them have not set foot in China. They don't know the reality of the Chinese economy or that market-oriented reforms are still being advanced.

Second, European businesses, especially those investing and trading in China won't agree with the parliamentarians who voted against market economy status for China.

Of course, some European industries that are struggling may be happy about the voting. But statistics indicate that more than 80 percent of European businesses in China are profitable. If China is not a market economy, how are those European investors managing to survive, and indeed prosper, in the increasingly sophisticated market environment there?

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