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2015 events

Optimism or pessimism about EU-China economic relations: where do we stand?

Lau China Institute Research Seminar
With John Farnell (EU-Asia Centre in Brussels and former Director responsible for international affairs in the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry at the European Commission), and Dr Paul Irwin Crookes (Contemporary China Studies Programme, University of Oxford)

Room S-1.04, Strand Building, Strand Campus, King's College London
4-6pm, Wednesday 11 March 2015

All welcome


The economic relationship between China and the European Union is one of the mainstays of the global economy and has become critically important to both sides but it is not developing smoothly, despite a joint political commitment to a “strategic partnership”. On the basis of their current work on the politics of EU-China economic relations in the 21st century, for a book commissioned by Palgrave Macmillan, John Farnell and Paul Irwin Crookes will present their views on the positive and negative elements in the current EU-China economic relationship and offer an assessment of how that relationship is likely to develop in the coming decade. Among the more promising developments are commitments to cooperation in research and innovation, joint action to address common economic challenges such as environmental sustainability and energy efficiency, and growing Chinese financial support for European infrastructure projects. But major constraints on closer economic relations remain, often based on domestic political problems that may take some time to resolve. From the EU perspective, in key areas such as trade, investment and economic reform in China, change is coming slowly or not at all. Meanwhile China, frustrated by a divided or indecisive EU, is taking its vision of cooperation with Europe forward through direct contacts with the Member States. Against this background, the target of doubling EU-China trade and investment flows by 2020 announced at the last EU-China Summit seems particularly challenging.

About the Speakers

John Farnell is a Senior Advisor at the EU-Asia Centre in Brussels, with a particular interest in EU-China economic relations. He has spent most of his career with the European Commission, retiring in December 2012. As Director responsible for international affairs in the Directorate-General for Enterprise and Industry he managed the EU’s industrial policy dialogue with China between  2007 and 2012. After working for British Airways and the Confederation of British Industry he became a Commission official in 1975, dealing during his career with international trade, fisheries, the internal market and industrial policy. He was a member of the Commission’s Impact Assessment Board from 2008 to 2011. John was educated at Cambridge University (MA, History) and the London School of Economics (MSc.(Econ), International Relations). He was the EU Visiting Fellow at St Antony’s College, Oxford University, in 2011-2012. He has written books on British political institutions and the European Union’s common fisheries policy.  He lives in Brussels and regularly writes and speaks on EU-China economic relations. 

Dr Paul Irwin Crookes is Lecturer in the International Relations of China and Director of Graduate Studies for the Contemporary China Studies Programme at the University of Oxford. Paul gained his MPhil and PhD degrees from the Centre of International Studies at the University of Cambridge and holds a BSc(Econ) from the London School of Economics. He returned to academic research after a 20-year career in the international IT industry, which took him on work assignments to the United States, continental Europe, India and China. He has particular research interests in EU-China economic and political relations, East Asian security, China’s innovation capabilities, and the development of international regimes as part of the evolution of global governance.

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