One third see China's economy as opportunity

Updated: 2006-12-05 08:53

One third of Europeans and Americans see China's rapid economic growth to be an opportunity, while nearly 60 percent remain wary of China's rising economic power, an opinion poll showed on Monday.

The survey, by the German Marshall Fund, a transatlantic think tank, comes as policymakers in Brussels and Washington are planning to update trade and investment ties with China, wary of its new economic might but keen for more of its huge market, the Reuters reported.

China skeptics worrying about China's economy see its inexpensive goods export and their companies relocating to China as a threat, according to the poll which covered France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Britain and the United States.

Of the six European countries covered, 70 percent of people in France and only slightly fewer in Poland, Italy and Slovakia expressed jitters over China's emerging economy, said the Reuter report.

Traditionally free-trading Britain had more people who saw China as an opportunity than a threat, the survey found.

With European manufacturing coming under pressure from Asia, the European Commission has imposed anti-dumping duties on a range of Chinese exports, including leather shoes.

EU and Chinese negotiators are due to begin talks next month on a broad new bilateral agreement, including economic issues. And, US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is leading a high-level Washington delegation to China later this month.

In potentially good news for attempts to break a deadlock in world trade talks, the poll showed 52 percent of respondents favored globalization in general, up from 46 percent in 2005.

Possibly behind that was a fall in dissatisfaction about the local economy -- 41 percent of Americans and 27 percent of Europeans were satisfied with their own economy, up from 30 and 20 percent respectively in 2005, the survey found.

But in a sign of how sensitive an issue free trade remains, two thirds of the French and over half the American respondents in the poll favored keeping trade barriers when local companies are at risk, even if it means slower economic growth at home.

The poll heard the views of about 1,000 people in each of the seven countries between September 5 and 25.

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