The European Union has long been criticised as a cost prohibitive place in which to do business because of high taxation and cumbersome regulations. Specifically the EU has long been a place where pro-environmental policies are often invoked as a means of passing yet more taxation and regulation onto small businesses and consumers. But while in Europe “green” has become synonymous with red tape, in China, environmentally friendly technologies are now frequently more effective and efficient than older fossil fuel based energy technologies.
China’s industrial revolution led to an increase in air pollution just as the industrial revolutions in Britain, the United States, France and Germany did the same. But China has also developed the most effective ways of reducing the long term threat of pollution by building and installing more solar panels than any other country on earth. This will help China to not only reduce the burning of fossil fuels but will also help China to become more energy independent in the coming years and decades.
China’s green revolution is also becoming a major factor in the export market as countries throughout the world look to purchase Chinese made green energy technologies which by most accounts are the best available.
While the European Union has long talked the green talk, by imposing non-tariff trade barriers to green technologies made in China, the European elites have betrayed their own alleged goals of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by prohibiting businesses and ordinary people from generating energy with cutting edge Chinese solar technology.
While the traditionally parochial attitude of European policy makers to genuine free trading agreements with countries like China, the EU has quietly announced the end of so-called anti-dumping and anti-subsidy non-tariff trade barriers on Chinese solar panels.
According to a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce,
“This is a result of joint efforts by governments and the industry. It is also a good example of solving trade disputes via negotiations”.
Beyond this, the move represents an acknowledgement of the fact that the path to a more environmentally friendly future is ultimately a path to China. China’s high pollution levels in recent decades have forced the business community and political leadership to rapidly adopt renewable energy solutions in order to stem the tide of smoky skies over major cities and industrial zones. Because China needed to think fast in order to reverse trends in the accumulation of pollution, a ‘needs must’ attitude has opened new vistas for China’s manufacturers of green technology who are now at the forefront of innovation globally. Crucially, while renewable energy technology had in the past been cost prohibitive vis-a-vis the price of coal, gas and oil, today’s ultra-modern Chinese technologies are in many cases both cost effective and sustainable, thus demonstrating that China’s pursuit of win-win solutions applies at a technical level as much as at a level of bilateral foreign relations.
This is just one example of the multiple potential win-win outcomes that are possible when freer trading practices replace barriers to trade which are consequently barriers to innovation and in this case barriers to a cleaner environment. There are many more advantages across multiple sectors that could be attained if trading blocs like the European Union would embrace a spirit of openness that could lead to further scientific, medical and technological breakthroughs.
As China is now at the forefront of green technology, nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, mechanical robots and pharmaceutical innovations, a free trading partnership with China is the most assured way not to be left out of the exciting developments occurring throughout Chinese society.