The European Union does not intend to condemn Russia and China for "economic coercion" in its joint trade strategy with the US, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday citing a draft document.
According to the outlet, the US has been advocating a more confrontational stance on China, while members of the EU have been reluctant to adopt a hawkish approach despite embracing the concept of "de-risking" regarding outbound investment, which is endorsed by both Washington and Brussels.
The EU reportedly seeks to reduce its economic exposure to the Asian powerhouse by signing on to the US-led policy of curbing Beijing's access to advanced technologies. At the same time, the bloc is struggling to maintain a balance in relations with Washington and China, which remains an important trading partner for the EU.
France and Italy objected to references to China as a non-market economy during internal meetings, Bloomberg reported citing sources familiar with the document.
While previous strategy drafts called out China's "anti-competitive and harmful non-market policies and practices," in particular in the semiconductor sector, the latest version does not include that language.
The US also proposed accusing China and Russia of "economic coercion" in earlier drafts of the document. The final text of the trade strategy mentions the problem but avoids calling out the two countries by name, Bloomberg said.
Washington and Brussels initially pushed for a text saying they had an "interest in preventing the narrow set of technological advances that are assessed to be core to enhancing the military and intelligence capabilities of actors who may use these capabilities to undermine international peace and security, from being fueled by our companies' capital, expertise, and knowledge."
The latest version reportedly says that the transatlantic partners "recognize that appropriate measures designed to address risks from outbound investment could be important."
US and EU representatives have reportedly agreed on a simplified draft avoiding harsh rhetoric while still enumerating the core issues. The document is expected to be published after the conclusion of the trade meeting between the two sides, which is taking place in Sweden on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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