This CEPS Policy Insight attempts to offer a first verification of whether China and the EU are ready to exercise leadership in global trade and investment, not only in words but also in deeds that would underpin credibility for the world trading and investor community. A distinction is drawn between the ambition to exercise such leadership and the effective capacity to do so. The EU’s capacity to lead is not at issue, but, as is shown, it does face a few difficulties. The paper analyses China’s effective leadership capacity based on aspects of its energetic FTA strategy, investment protection agreements, the progress of its domestic market-oriented reforms (required for economic openness) and its record in negotiating the WTO plurilaterals. Some reflections on a possible joint leadership of the EU and China are offered in the conclusion.
Weinian Hu is a former CEPS Research Fellow and Jacques Pelkmans is Senior Research Fellow at CEPS.