The European Union confirmed that the bloc would not be joining China’s Belt and Road initiative in contradiction to what had been stipulated earlier by German Economic Minister. Speaking on the sidelines of the BRI summit hosted by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the European Economic Area wants to sign a memorandum of understanding with China as a bloc and not as individual members. However, the EU has so far allowed its member states to join individually and almost half of them have already done so.
The BRI summit came against the backdrop of cancellations and postponements of various projects by participating countries and a general tension around how Beijing is handling its one-trillion-dollar initiative. Chinese President said that he would improve the transparency and debt analysis of the economies receiving financial support and pledged to keep on progressing on opening up the economy and abolishing subsidies as the EU and the US have asked for.
In the meantime, as Beijing and Washington are allegedly inching closer to sealing a deal aimed at resolving a trade dispute that has included damaging tariffs on $360 billion worth of goods, US senior officials are travelling to China for another round of talks. Donald Trump himself said that he would be going to China soon to secure a trade agreement. China had previously committed to increasing imports, lowering tariffs and upholding intellectual property rights to access the Chinese market but President Xi did not provide any details for the implementation. “We will overhaul and abolish unjustified regulations, subsidies and practices that impede fair competition and distort the market,” Xi said, promising to open up its economy and treat all companies, enterprises and business entities equally.