The United States and Germany coincided Chinese goals
The field of trade war shifted to Europe
Soon, Trump announced Washington’s plans to raise customs duties on Chinese exports (mainly on high value-added goods: electronics, satellites, medicines, engineering products, etc.). The list of items subject to US sanctions has grown to 1300 items with an annual value of $ 50 billion.
China posted its list of 106 titles, in which the largest items were soybeans, beef, cars and airplanes. However, this modest list also sucked up $ 50 billion. It turned out a mirror response, which only provoke the parties.
Over time, mutual claims rates rose to $ 300 billions, and then completely shifted to the markets of third countries - first of all, to rich Europe. As we remember, China has special plans for trade with the European Union. Under this even created the concept of "New Silk Road", which has already involved half of Asia.
It is believed that this is the most promising direction of foreign trade in China. After all, today the European Union is the most powerful economic entity in the world. It brings together five hundred million people and gives 23% of world gross domestic product — $ 16,1 trillion at nominal value and $ 21,6 trillion — at purchasing power parity.
Taken together, it turns out that the European Union today is the first economy in the world. The authors of the unfolding trade war moved to this market. China - with finished goods. America - with energy, weapons and military equipment, financial services.
Of course, both conflicting countries are no strangers to the European market. The Americans have long achieved their unconditional influence here. The authority of the Chinese appeared only in the new century. However, now it is quite significant. Back in 2011, China overtook America in terms of commodity turnover with Europe and became its largest trading partner.
This was facilitated by the strengthening of Beijing’s ties with the British Rothschild banking house and Chinese investments in the European economy, which are already approaching 100 billion euros. Especially the rapid growth they received in the last two years, which somewhat alerted the Europeans.
Indeed, in addition to economic goodness, when additional jobs and production growth are provided at the expense of Chinese money, Chinese companies began to absorb Chinese capital, while investments in engineering and high technology threatened to increase Chinese competition in this very profitable and promising market.
Be that as it may, Chinese investment has grown. According to the estimates of the consulting company Ernst & Young, last year the Chinese invested 13,7 billion US dollars in German assets alone. Therefore, it is only natural that China decided to compensate for the expected losses from the trade war with America in Europe.
Chancellor Merkel changes course
In early July, Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China Li Keqiang leaned into the Old World. He made the first stop in the Bulgarian capital, where he took part in the summit of China and the countries of Central and Eastern Europe. This event has been practiced for seven years. Local media reviewers call the prevailing format "16 + 1."
Usually at such meetings they discuss cooperation in the development of agriculture, tourism, infrastructure, and partly - technology. This time, China showed interest in completing the construction of Belene NPP in Bulgaria, and in developing a network of railways and autobahns.
The summit in Sofia took place on July 7, and two days later, Li Keqiang was already in Berlin. Here his talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel ended with the signing of more than twenty important economic agreements. German media called them "the future technology agreements".
As an example, they cited cooperation projects for the development of autonomous cars and the construction in Thuringia of a Chinese factory for the production of batteries for electric vehicles, by the way, “the first enterprise of this kind in Europe”.
In Berlin, we agreed on a strategic cooperation between the German machine-building concern Voith and the Chinese railway corporation CRRC, a software manufacturer for SAP enterprises and one of the largest privately-owned retailers in China, the Suning Commerce Group, and the development of a high-capacity gas turbine between Siemens and the Chinese State Pove ", - clarified some of the details of the publication Deutsche Welle.
It is noteworthy that during the signing of such important documents, Angela Mekel and Li Keqiang made brief speeches in which they spoke about the growing importance of free trade and the danger of protectionism. It looked quite defiantly, as if on the other side of the conference table was the unforgettable hairstyle of President Trump. The Chinese guest so generally bluntly announced the upcoming struggle "with the newly flourishing forces in favor of protectionism in trade."
The enviable unanimity of the negotiators promised good prospects for the development of German-Chinese trade cooperation. However, soon enough, other speeches were heard in Berlin. China began to be accused of declarative intentions. They say that Beijing is only announcing the opening of its markets, and in fact has put barriers in the way of European investors from various restrictions.
At the end of last week, the words turned into deeds that experts rated as a change in the German course. Its first signs appeared in 2017 year. Then the German government issued an order imposing certain restrictions on the sale of strategically important German companies to investors from countries outside the European Union.
Directly to China, this step was in no way connected, but now it is Chinese firms that were the first to suffer from a government decision blocking access to German technology. Twice in recent days (on Friday 27 July and Wednesday 1 August), authorities in Berlin prevented the Chinese from buying assets in Germany.
In the first case, this concerned one of the largest operators of German transmission lines - the company 50 Hertz. It supplies electricity to 18 to millions of consumers in Germany, having 10 thousands of kilometers of power lines in its assets. The firm attracts investors by the fact that in the near future it will transfer "green electricity" from offshore wind farms in the north of Germany to industrial areas of the southern federal states.
Earlier this year, the Australian infrastructure investment fund IFM, which owns 40 percent of the company's shares in 50 Hertz, put up for sale half of its stake. Interest in this asset was shown by the state-owned Chinese concern State Grid Corporation of China (SGCC), but the Belgian power grid operator Elia, which already owns the main stake in 50 Hertz, was in priority of the purchase.
Last week, IFM sold its remaining shares to a German company. This time, the Belgians did not find the means to buy them. The chances of the Chinese SGCC have increased dramatically. However, at the last moment the purchase was made (as the German media write, “at the direction of Berlin”) by the German state bank KfW.
The German business community disagreed with the “partial nationalization” of the transmission operator. The newspaper Stuttgarter Nachrichten on this occasion wrote: "A country dependent on exports, like Germany, should not have succumbed to the temptation of protectionist measures."
In this connection, the Chinese tried once again not to mention, as if demonstrating a national consensus to curb Beijing's economic expansion. Although the newspaper Die Welt could not resist and directly expressed its fears: "Do we really want the Chinese state to know how German electrical networks are protected from interruptions or attacks from outside, and in what places are they vulnerable?"
Another deal with Chinese participation fell 1 August. The company Yantai Taihai Group was going to acquire machine tool company Leifeld Metal Spinning, which is one of the world leaders in the field of superhard metals. Beijing could use them in space and nuclear engineering.
Stopped the deal "information leak" that the government of Chancellor Merkel is preparing a veto on the sale of Leifeld assets to the Chinese. So it finally happened. It turned out on Wednesday night, but Yantai Taihai, without waiting for a formal refusal, had already withdrawn its offer.
Both of these cases show that the "sworn friends" - US President Donald Trump and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany - unexpectedly coincided objectives in relation to the PRC. As the correspondent of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper in Shanghai Hendrik Ankenbrand wrote, “Trump wants China to block access to technology and the innovative potential of America.”
As we see, the moves of the overseas colleague began to repeat the Bundeskanzlerin. Public explanations for the unexpected change of course Angela Merkel yet. However, even without them, it is obvious: now China’s economic expansion will be held back by the entire West. The same West, where Beijing beats its "New Silk Road".
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