Biden and Macron target China in talks

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10th June 2024 – (Paris) During President Joe Biden’s visit to France, both leaders took aim at China, with Biden calling for “free navigation” in the Indo-Pacific and Macron advocating for “coordinated” action against alleged “overcapacity” in China. Chinese observers believe the U.S. is trying to rally allies in the region to support its strategy and expand its presence, potentially impacting China-EU economic cooperation if the EU imposes tariffs on Chinese goods.

The visit comes as the U.S. strives to maintain European alliances amid growing divisions over conflicts in the Middle East and concerns over the return of former President Trump. Biden’s remarks hinted at China’s growing influence in the Indo-Pacific, while Macron refrained from making similar comments.

Analysts suggest that Biden’s objective is twofold: securing his own election prospects and preventing any potential policy deviations in the Indo-Pacific under a future Trump administration. Macron, on the other hand, views France’s role in the region as a demonstration of its major power status, distinct from the U.S.’ aim of rallying allies against China.

Macron also expressed concerns about “overcapacity” and unfair trade practices by China. However, the European Commission has delayed its decision on Chinese electric vehicles (EVs), indicating potential unintended consequences of tariff hikes. This may reflect France’s dual approach to economic cooperation with China, seeking increased trade while also supporting protectionist measures.

Chinese officials called for dialogue and negotiation to address trade disputes, opposing unilateral protectionist actions that could harm China-EU cooperation. They emphasised China’s willingness for healthy competition, rejecting attempts to stifle growth through vicious competition.