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Duggan, N., Szunomár, Á.: Chinese Investments and Involvement in Strategic Sectors and Infrastructure Development Across Europe: Europe’s Hybrid Relationship with China Beyond the BRI—Introduction to the Special Issue

Chinese Investments and Involvement in Strategic Sectors and Infrastructure Development Across Europe: Europe’s Hybrid Relationship with China Beyond the BRI—Introduction to the Special Issue

 

Authors: Niall Duggan, Ágnes Szunomár

 

In: Asian Perspective, 48(1), 1-11.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/apr.2024.a919879

 

Abstract

Research on the economic relations between the European Union (EU) and the People’s Republic of China (China) has long been dominated by a focus on the trade relationship between both actors (Algiero 2002; Gaenssmantel 2012; Men 2013; Smith 2014; Heron 2007; Zhang 2014). This literature highlights that the trade relationship between China and the EU is highly institutionalized at the EU level and is managed through a network of high-level economic and trade dialogue as well as sectoral dialogues, working groups, networks, and platforms (Ash 2007; van der Harst 2023). However, the relationship is also at a member state (MS) level, which has its own trade relationships with China and its own concepts of sovereignty, human rights, and environmental standards (Goulard 2020; Cui 2018). This creates what Smith (2014, 39) calls the hybrid nature of the EU economic diplomacy in terms of its relationship with China. This hybrid nature creates a situation where the EU Commission depends on MS consensus and vice versa regarding policy action toward China (Freeman 2022; Woolcock 2012; Voogsgeerd 2023). This is particularly true with trade and investment regulations as common commercial policy is a Commission-level competence. At the same time, MS plays a major role in promoting or preventing economic relations with China (Gottwald 2010; Reilly 2017; Farnell and Irwin Crookes 2016; Liu and Zhang 2020).

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