The activities of Chinese state-owned construction enterprises in and around the EU have reached new dimensions with the “Belt and Road Initiative” (BRI) and the budgets involved. Recent examples of EU-financed construction contracts awarded to abnormally low tenders submitted by consortia led by Chinese SOEs (e.g. in Croatia, Bulgaria, Sweden) show the need for a comprehensive EU strategy in favour of fair competition in practice. It seems the approach of the EU and the Member States has changed into this direction. Chinese finance practices in other continents, particularly Africa, show that this systematic deviation from internationally agreed principles has negative consequences.
Why FIEC is dealing with this topic
In order to avoid any misunderstanding, FIEC and EIC would like to reiterate that they are firmly opposed to any form of protectionism and are in favour of fair competition in mutually open markets. Fair and healthy competition, based on contract conditions which allocate risks in a balanced way, contributes to progress and innovation. On the other hand, unfair and unhealthy competition, based on unbalanced conditions and the lowest price only, endangers the EU economy and society. FIEC and EIC are in favour of genuinely reciprocal market access opportunities and corresponding incentive measures (i.e. trade defence instruments) at EU level, if international negotiations do not achieve tangible progress.
Actions and key dates
15/03/2018 - EIC Memo on Correcting the unlevel playing field, EIC Memo
20/06/2018 - FIEC-EIC Press Release “EU needs a strategy for the China Challenge”
12/11/2018 - “Official Finance Practices of the PR China”, SFI Study for EIC
12/3/2019 - European Commission, Strategic outlook
22/3/2019 - Council, Council Conclusions
12/06/2019 - FIEC/EIC/EuDA Action Plan
17/09/2019 - FIEC/EIC/EuDA position paper on Fostering a Level Playing Field in Construction
11/2019 - Meeting with parliamentary assistant of MEP Daniel Caspary (EPP), Rapporteur on the IPI in the Trade Committee
01/2020 - Meeting with MEP Inmaculada Rodríguez-Piñero (S&D), Shadow-Rapporteur on the IPI in the Trade Committee
02/2020 - Meeting with parliamentary assistant of MEP Liesje Schreinemacher (RENEW), Shadow-Rapporteur on the IPI in the Trade Committee
03/2020 - Contribution to BusinessEurope’s Position Paper