‘Occam’s razor’ principle means no to China’s market economy status

DISCLAIMER: All opinions in this column reflect the views of the author(s), not of EURACTIV.COM Ltd.

The EU should not be pressured into granting China MES by the impending December deadline. [Dennis Jarvis/Flickr]

There are times where it may be good for the EU to apply “Occam’s razor” to its policies; a principle that gets its name from one of the most prominent representatives of European scientific thought. Chinese market economy status may be such a time, write a number of EPP MEPs.

This opinion piece was penned and co-signed by several EPP lawmakers, who are listed in full below.

When applied to the question of China’s market economy status (MES), this principle, which proposes the adoption/promotion of the simplest positions even when facing complex issues, would lead Europe to refuse this status, without adding to legal controversies concerning China’s protocol of accession to the WTO.

Fifteen years after its accession to the protocol, China has not voluntarily implemented the needed reforms to fulfill the five criteria defined by the European Union.

This is why we refuse to consider automatically granting this status to China. As MEPs, we will defend the interests of European companies and jobs.

Pressure from China and the urgency of this decision, which the EU must make before December, should not lead Europe to make its economy even more vulnerable.

Indeed, granting market economy status to China will oblige us to change our methods of trade defence and will weaken our companies. Therefore, we would no longer be able to fight against unfair competition, whereas there are currently more than 50 anti-dumping measures in force in Europe against China to protect jobs and businesses in many sectors.

We call on the EU to quickly take concrete actions. The EU should act upon its responsibility instead of showing recklessness.

The Union must speak with one voice and develop a strategy to preserve its economic interests.

On a more general note, these discussions about granting MES to China have recalled the need for the EU to re-launch a more offensive trade policy.

We must give ourselves the means to defend our businesses and jobs against any fiscal, social and environmental dumping.

It is therefore urgent that the Commission and member states speed up the modernisation and strengthening of our trade defence instruments.

The European Union must also be more offensive on the issue of market access for European companies.

Indeed, Europe must stop opening its markets to third states that do not respect the principles of reciprocity and balanced economic relations.

It is through taking a clear stand on these issues that the European Union will become a true economic and political power, respected on the international stage.

This op-ed has been co-signed by:

Salvatore Cicu (Italy); Lara Comi (Italy); Santiago Fisas Ayxela (Spain); Elisabetta Gardini (Italy); Alain Lamassoure (France); Franck Proust (France); Fernando Ruas (Portugal); Tokia Saïfi (France); Massimiliano Salini (Italy); Antonio Tajani (Italy); Jarosław Walesa (Poland); Iuliu Winkler (Romania); and Pablo Zalba Bidegain (Spain).

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