Survey: China’s slowing economy top concern for EU businesses

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A SURVEY by the EU Chamber of Commerce in China on Wednesday showed that China’s slowing economy was the biggest concern for European businesses, the global economic slowdown, and the U.S.-China trade war.

According to the survey, the fragility of global supply chains has been exposed by the coronavirus outbreak, and multiple economies are suffering.

China’s economy showed a historic decline of 6.8 per cent in the first quarter of the year, amid widespread closures caused by the coronavirus outbreak.

However, while most factories had so far resumed production, global demand remained weak, threatening to slow down the economic recovery.

Separately, China’s consumer inflation eased to 2.4-per-cent growth in May, official data showed on Wednesday, after growing by 3.3 per cent in April.

“European businesses in China are dealing with uncertainty at levels that have not been seen in generations,” the chamber said.

In a sign of slight improvement, 49 per cent of respondents reported that doing business in China had become more difficult in the past year. The figure in 2019, had been four percentage points higher.

However, 44 per cent of respondents said they expected an increase in regulatory obstacles, while only 29 per cent foresaw a decrease.

According to the chamber’s vice president, Charlotte Roule, what China needs is an open and fair market.

“China is moving toward a mono economy, two systems model, where, on the one side, market forces and regulations seem increasingly international but on the other side, the reliance on state-owned enterprises is growing, at the expense of the private sector.

“The hope of competing on a level-playing field is even further out of reach,” she said.

The chamber noted that the Chinese Government ceased the opportunity of the crisis to create a fairer business environment as well as collaborating with the global community to foster progress and growth.

“Optimism among European businesses in China has likely “taken a nosedive” since February, when the study was conducted,” the chamber said.

The coronavirus outbreak, which in February was beginning to spread across China, had proven more serious than initially expected. (dpa/NAN)

– Jun. 10, 2020 @ 13:12 GMT |

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