The EU is still heavily dependent on China.

Mona Hetzel
November 18, 2020

The EU is dependent on supplies from China in 103 product categories. These include electronics, chemicals, minerals/metals and medicine. There is therefore a critical dependence on China. This is the result of a study by the Berlin Mercator Institute for China Studies (Merics).
For vitamin B, where the import share is 97.9 percent, it says.

The broad-spectrum antibiotic chloramphenicol stood out particularly with 97.4 percent.
The electronics industry is also heavily dependent on imports. Many components for high-tech products such as circuit boards or diodes are supplied from China.

Europe is particularly dependent on China for components at the lower end of the value chain, says Max Zenglein, Chief Economist at Merics. However, warnings that the EU as a whole is on the drip from China are exaggerated. The bottom line is that the presence of Chinese companies and investments in Europe is still relatively low, especially compared to American players.

In addition, the People's Republic is dependent on a good relationship with Europe. A bad relationship with the EU would also have a very negative effect on China, since the EU creates numerous jobs for China. Furthermore, the EU is an important market for China and a source of urgently needed technological know-how.

The EU should therefore not be guided in its China policy by exaggerated fears of its own vulnerability, but should focus on its strengths. "It is in the interest of China and the EU to maintain mutual dependencies to a certain degree. While strong interdependencies can be exploited for political purposes, they can often also help prevent escalation.

Europe's largest economy, Germany, in particular, has particularly close ties with China. 48.5 percent of exports from the 27 EU member states to the People's Republic last year were "Made in Germany". In the second quarter of 2020, China became the most important sales market for German exports for the first time ever. From January to September, China's share of total imports grew to a record 11.3 percent.  

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