Helena Lyng Blak
3 weeks ago

Xi Jinping Embarks on First European Visit in Five Years

Chinese President Xi Jinping is visiting Europe for the first time since 2019. Here is what to expect.
5 JULY 2017 - BERLIN: Xi Jinping - German Chancellor's Meeting with the Chinese State Representative, Federal Chancellery — Photo by 360ber
5 JULY 2017 - BERLIN: Xi Jinping - German Chancellor's Meeting with the Chinese State Representative, Federal Chancellery — Photo by 360ber

On Sunday, May 5, China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in Paris, the first stop of the world leader’s European trip. It is the first time in five years the president has visited the continent. 

Today, Monday, May 6, Xi will be meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in part to mark the 60-year anniversary of diplomatic relations between France and China. 

While in France, Xi will also be meeting with President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and spending time in the Pyrenees. 

After France, Xi is going to visit Serbia and Hungary which are the two European countries with the closest ties to Russia. 

What is expected to be on the agenda?

Trade Relations and China’s “Excess Capacity”

One of the primary topics of conversation between von der Leyen, Macron, and Xi will be the trade relations between the EU and China. 

According to The Guardian, Macron told French newspapers that an update of trade relations with China would be necessary as, “China now has excess capacity in many areas and exports massively to Europe.”

One concrete example is China’s mass production of electric vehicles (EVs). 

In the fall of 2023, the EU launched an anti-subsidy probe into Chinese EVs coming into the European market. 

At the time, von der Leyen said, “Global markets are now flooded with cheaper Chinese electric cars. And their price is kept artificially low by huge state subsidies. This is distorting our market. And as we do not accept this distortion from the inside in our market, we do not accept this from the outside.”

Russia-Ukraine War - and China’s Role in It

Another major area of concern for the EU in its relationship with China is the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war, which the EU and China find themselves at opposite sides of. 

One particular point of contention is the EU suspicion that China is circumventing EU sanctions on exports to Russia. 

Another, according to Sky News, involves China sending ‘dual-use items’ to Russia. Dual use items are goods that both serve a civilian and a military purpose - semiconductors and various tools might be examples of such items. 

Ultimately, Xi’s visit to Europe may have far-reaching implications not only for the global economy, but also for world peace.

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