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Washington asking too much of European allies: China Daily editorial | Updated: 2022-12-04 19:33
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The United States Federal Communications Commission on November 25 announced a ban on new equipment from five Chinese tech companies, as it presses allies and partners harder to follow suit.

Despite US State Secretary Antony Blinken's claim of "growing convergence" between his government and those of US' European allies, however, there is increasing evidence the US administration's unilateral approach won't play out well.

Germany, for one, has a dissenting opinion. A spokesperson with the country's Economy Ministry stated on Friday that Germany wouldn't issue a blanket ban, as Washington requests, on Chinese telecommunications equipment makers. Instead, it would make its own decisions on a case-by-case basis.

Nor will the Netherlands do as the US wants.

Dutch Foreign Trade Minister Liesje Schreinemacher said in an interview with Dutch newspaper NRC: "The Netherlands will not copy the American measures one-to-one." Her government would rather make its own decisions based on its own assessment and consultation with partner countries, she said.

The Netherlands and Europe "should have their own strategy", she argued. "Obviously we are weighing our own interests. Our national security interests are of the utmost importance."

Obviously their views differ from those of Washington. A fundamental flaw with the US approach to throttling the Chinese semiconductor industry is its neglect of the interests of its allies and partners.

Over the past more than four decades, closer economic and trade interdependence has grown into a solid economic reality, not only between China and the US. Many US allies, Germany and the Netherlands included, have benefited tremendously from thriving economic and trade ties with China.

Close economic and trade ties over the decades have served both sides extremely well, and both sides are enthusiastic about preserving the fine momentum.

In his meeting with Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte on the sidelines of the G20 Summit in Bali, Indonesia, Chinese President Xi Jinping urged the latter to refuse calls to "decouple" and the "politicization of economic and trade issues".

The Dutch trade minister is clear-eyed about that. "In general we in the Netherlands are very positive and always have been about good relations with China. We do a lot of business with China. A lot of Dutch companies are working there."

The relationship is "really giving a boost to innovation and trade which is fundamental to Europe," she pointed out. "We should cherish that also."

Eleven percent of Dutch imports are from China, about 5 percent of its exports go to China. ASML alone had over 2 billion euros of sales, roughly 16 percent of its total, to China last year. The US request therefore means a significant blow to the country's economy.

The US administration is whistling in the dark on this one.

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