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Policy Dialogue
“Extreme competition” or cautious cooperation - The case for a responsible transatlantic strategy

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Wednesday, 03 March 2021
 17:00 - 18:00
By invitation only


Michael D. Swaine
Director East Asia Programme, Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft
Shada Islam
Senior Adviser, European Policy Centre


David O’Sullivan
Former EU Ambassador to the United States, Chairman of the Governing Board, EPC

Managing their complex and multi-faceted relationship with China and the wider East Asian region is a key geopolitical challenge for both the United States (US) and the European Union (EU). US President Joe Biden has warned China to expect “extreme competition” from Washington but also insisted that the new relationship need not be conflictual. Instead of damaging unilateral actions pursued by his predecessor, Biden has promised to follow “international rules of the road”, return to the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and re-invest in building better relations with America’s disaffected European and Asian allies. The EU is similarly juggling between cooperation and competition in its relations with Beijing and has welcomed the opportunity for a reset in transatlantic relations, including through discussions on a common stance on China. But Brussels has also demonstrated its determination to pursue Europe’s commercial and political interests by concluding a preliminary EU-China investment agreement, prompting criticism from some in the new US Administration.


This online policy dialogue will discuss Washington’s emerging policy on China and the wider East Asian region and prospects for US-EU synergies in tackling Chinese competition in trade, technology and addressing human rights concerns while also keeping the door open for cooperation on climate change, post-pandemic economic revival and global governance. Is such a common stance on East Asia possible given different US and EU economic interests? Can the US and EU work together in the Indo-Pacific? Can the US and EU push back against those demanding tougher actions against Beijing?


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