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A woman walking in front of a montage of enlarged Chinese currency
Western governments want China to revalue its currency to even international tradeImage: AP

Chinese Competition

DW staff (jp)
December 6, 2007

A majority of Europeans and Americans said they perceive China's emergence as a major economic power as a threat, according to a survey published by the German Marshall Fund.


The survey, commissioned by the trans-Atlantic think tank in September, sampled 1,000 people in six European countries and the US and showed that Europeans are slightly more worried by China than Americans.

The poll, published Wednesday, Dec. 5, found that 55 percent of Europeans are concerned about China's growing role in the global economy compared with 51 percent in the US. Fears were strongest in France, where 64 percent saw China as a threat, and weakest in Britain, where nearly 60 percent saw the country's growth as an opportunity -- and only 34 percent as cause for concern.

Across Europe, 57 percent of Germans, 59 percent of Poles, 60 percent of Italians and 62 percent of Slovaks admitted to feeling uneasy about China's growing economic role on the world stage.

Uneven playing field

Toy cars on a receipt showing a barcode and the words
European and American companies are facing increasing competition from ChinaImage: dpa

With public disquiet about China persistently high, US and EU authorities are currently stepping up pressure on Beijing over trade issues on the grounds that the Asian country profits from an unlevel playing field.

Both the EU and the US insist that China's boom is helped by an artificially low exchange rate controlled by the state, and that their exports run up against unnecessary obstacles as well as copyright violation, the AFP news agency reported Thursday.

A high-level EU delegation aired these concerns to Beijing last week, while US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and other senior US administration officials will be in the Chinese capital for high-level trade and investment talks next week.

Tightening trans-Atlantic ties

A woman on a bicycle in Beijing
China's rise as a world power has environmental repercussionsImage: AP

Meanwhile, the survey also revealed that some two-thirds of Americans and Europeans favor closer economic ties across the Atlantic, with strong support for an initiative launched this year to tear down barriers to trade and investment between the world's largest trading partners.

"After more than five decades of robust trade and investment integration since World War II, Americans and Europeans see even further gains to be made by deepening the trans-Atlantic marketplace," the German Marshall Fund's president, Craig Kennedy, said in a statement.

The first meeting of the Trans-Atlantic Economic Council took place last month, successfully negotiating regulatory issues ranging from accounting rules to standards for biofuels.

Only 52 percent in the United States and 53 percent in Europe said they supported globalization, with both Americans and Europeans more likely to blame outsourcing, immigration and currency manipulation for job losses than trade, the poll showed.

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