This week EU officials have been in Beijing working out a negotiated settlement to the EU-China dispute over low-price solar panel exports to Europe. The case has seen the European Commission’s attempts to take a tougher line on Chinese subsidy practice, and enforce European ‘trade defence’ rules, collide with some very stark realities about the political limits on this area of European trade policy. Beijing no doubt sees Europe’s lack of unity as a sign of weakness. In reality, it is a reflection of the very genuine divided interests created by the globalisation of European supply chains.
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