The EU could face a backlash from “suspicious” Chinese entrepreneurs if it pursues its plans to limit foreign corporate ownership and China’s involvement in 5G communications, the country’s ambassador to the EU said.
In an interview with the Financial Times Zhang Ming warned that if EU countries do not promote international cooperation and free markets, “it would be disastrous for them,” as it would impact Chinese investments in the bloc.
“What I hope to see is that the EU will keep to the principles of multilateralism and free trade, as well as the principles of openness, fairness, justice and non-discrimination,” he said.
The comments come ahead of recommendations expected in January for EU countries to tighten security checks on 5G companies. China’s Huawei, which has faced a backlash from the U.S., is a world leader in the sector.
Zhang also gave a cautions response to a proposed EU-wide carbon border tax, which French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said earlier this month is needed to curtail imports from countries with laxer environmental standards.
“Some are asking whether such a tax is in line with WTO rules, or whether it’s going to lead to protectionism and trade tensions,” Zhang said.
He also responded to EU criticism of China’s human rights record, over its mass internment of Uighurs in the province of Xinjiang. Zhang accused the EU of “unjust and dishonest rhetoric and behaviour,” according to the FT.