With the new investment deal between EU and China, a number of concerns are finally raised regarding our future political democratic system and independents from outside pressure.
According to EU, the deal will bring a level playing field for European companies entering the Chinese market and Beijing is signing up to follow ILO regarding labor conditions, but as Chatham House points out, the western world believes that what’s written down on paper also is going to be the practice. Not true, Beijing is using slave labour like Uyghur, ethnic Kazakhs and Kyrgyzs, as well as other Muslim minority groups.
They can continue to do that despite the investment deal because the it states that Beijing will oversee and check the conditions – no foreign country has access to these places.
The level playing field will maybe not be an issue for big companies, but SME’s will not benefit from reductions with Chinese red tape, trade tariffs and the Chinese government wall. Chinese investments and M&A’s in Europe will continue as before and may even increase now when we are hit hard financially by Covid19.
The total Chinese investment in Europe, including M&A, over the past 10 years now amounts to over €330 billion, and China has acquired more than 350 European companies.
Foreign direct investment for some EU countries 2019 was; Finland ($5.3 billion), UK ($3.8 billion), Sweden ($1.3 billion), Germany ($0.7 billion) and Italy ($0.7 billion).
Finland is in top of the EU countries and if we look at the biggest trade partners from Finland’s point of view, China is number four during 2019, after Germany, Sweden and Russia.
According to Jyrki Kallio from the Finnish Institute of International Affairs:
“Although EU and Finland have a common front with the United States on many issues concerning China, Finland must continue to take a balanced approach. Continuing economic cooperation with China is important and requires good political relations. At the same time, care must be taken to ensure that dependence on China does not grow in a way that could jeopardize Finland’s relations with other countries. Our neighbour, Sweden, became unpopular with China for reasons completely independent of itself. A similar danger of becoming a pawn threatens Finland as well.”
The leadership in Beijing isn’t stupid, they have a long-term strategy, generations onward, that are built on three bases;
- Base one, investing to such a level in foreign companies and foreign states infrastructure that the Beijing regime can formulate the agenda, i.e. blackmailing
- Base two, through state governed “Chinese institutes” situated on campuses around the world set the narrative and context for how China and its political system is perceived and discussed
- Base three, strong diplomatic pressure on foreign states and immediate indignation if anything in relation to China is stubbed in the slightest
From the point of view of consumption, we should really consider if we want to buy Chinese consumer goods or not. As pointed out by Gösta Grassman in Svenska Dagbladet, one of Sweden’s national newspapers, continuing to buy goods from China only feeds their military rearmament and thereby increasing the threat of conflict.
Grassman is also pointing out that “The People’s Republic of China’s actions on various levels, both domestic and foreign, have increasing similarities with the German Nazi dictatorship of 1933-1945 and the Soviet dictatorship under Stalin. Both of these states worked hard on their image. In parallel with concentration camps, torture, murder and wars of aggression, both the German and Russian dictatorships wanted to appear as “rule of law” and democracies, preferably also culture-loving nations. The People’s Republic of China has been pursuing a similar two-headed policy for a couple of decades.”
The question must be asked: Will we continue to heedlessly trade with China and thus fully consciously feed the world’s largest dictatorship and at the same time undermine our own democracy?
By Our Swedish Correspondent