BRUSSELS — Beijing has rejected a complaint from European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen about the EU’s trade deficit with China, a day before her summit meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The EU bears responsibility for the trade imbalance because it has prevented companies from exporting to China, Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said on Wednesday, in response to von der Leyen’s appeal to China to open access to its market.
“If the EU, on the one hand, imposes severe restrictions on high-tech exports and, on the other, hopes to sharply increase its exports to China, I am afraid that this makes no sense,” Wang said at a regular news conference.
Wang’s comment appears to refer to restrictions on exports of the most advanced lithography tools, made by Dutch market leader ASML, which are used to print the most powerful computer chips.
He added that part of the profits generated by Chinese trade surpluses are made by European companies with activities in this country. A third of the production of European companies in China was re-exported to the EU.
“The current state of trade between China and the EU is the result of the macroeconomic environment, international trade conditions and industrial composition of the two sides,” Wang said. “Trade figures are unable to reflect the share of interest between China and the EU in light of integrated global industrial and supply chains.
Von der Leyen said Tuesday that European leaders “will not tolerate a long-term trade imbalance.” In the months leading up to Thursday’s summit, EU officials highlighted its trade deficit with China, which has doubled in two years to a record 390 billion euros in 2022.