Frederick Kempe is adamant Brussels and the US should form a trade alliance to challenge China’s economic might.

Italy is set to become the first major EU member country to sign a bilateral agreement on cooperation with China despite Beijing’s controversial Belt and Road Initiative to increase Chinese global infrastructure.

Frederick Kempe
Photo: Atlantic Council Chief, Frederick Kempe.

But Mr. Kempe warned cross-Atlantic cooperation on dealing with Beijing appears a long way off, with Mr. Trump eyeing the EU as a trade rival.

Mr. Kempe said: “Although it may sound a little utopian, a common transatlantic strategy in dealing with China would be in the best interest of both the US and the EU.

“Greater coordination inside Europe and across the Atlantic could bring considerably more leverage to the negotiating table.”

He added: “The combined EU-US GDP in 2017 of more than £27trillion ($36trillion) was nearly triple that of China, and even the EU GDP alone of more than £13 trillion ($17.3 trillion) eclipses the £9.2trillion ($12.2trillion) of Beijing.

“Instead, China comes to the table with the full weight of six times more GDP than that of Italy, which next week could become the first G-7 member state to endorse China’s Belt and Road Initiative.”

Next week, Mr. Trump’s top trade negotiators fly to Beijing to end a trade war.

In September, the White House slapped £150billion ($200billion) of tariffs on Chinese goods as the conflict escalated.

It is hoped this week’s visit will allow a deal to be signed by the end of next month.

A report commissioned this week by the US Chamber of Commerce warned continuing the US-China trade war would cost the US economy £753billion ($1trillion) by 2029.

Editor’s note: The article reflects the author’s opinion only, and not necessarily the views of editorial opinion of Belt & Road News.