Earlier this year it was the head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, who decisively shifted talk of "decoupling" with China to "de-risking." This seemed a more cogent expression of Europe's policy of managing risk and also distinguished Europe's approach from America's seemingly tougher stance on China. This made good sense – Europe is more economically exposed to China than America is. Some 8% of publicly listed European firms' revenues are from China, compared with 4% for American ones. Europe and America send a similar share of goods exports to China (7-9%), but because Europe is a more trade-intensive economy its sensitivity is higher. Multinational investments in China are worth 2% of Europe's GDP compared with 1% for America.
Now talk of de-risking is now all the rage in board rooms from Brussels to Boston and beyond. But what it really means for companies or for policy-makers is still being assessed. Also still being assessed is whether Europe, with divergent interests and priorities among member states, can maintain a coherent China strategy.
Join us for a conversation on the priorities and complexities in EU-China relations.
Please note that this event is limited to senior-level executives and per invitation only. If you are not an existing member of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network, but would like to learn how you can attend our events, please contact us.
Mrs. Swärd Capra is a Swedish diplomat and Consul General of Sweden in Shanghai, P.R. of China, since 2020. Before transferring to Shanghai, she was Sweden’s Ambassador to Algeria (2016-2020). Mrs. Swärd Capra served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the WTO in Geneva between 2007 and 2011. She was the Deputy Permanent Representative of Sweden to the OECD during two non-consecutive terms, 1998-2003 and 2011-2016. Mrs. Swärd Capra started her career at the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs in Stockholm in August 1989. She is a lawyer by training and has graduate and post-graduate degrees in Law and International Public Law from Lund University (LLM) in Sweden and Sorbonne (Paris 1) University (D.E.A) in France. She is fluent in French and English. During her diplomatic career, Mrs. Swärd Capra has worked on a wide range of issues, notably foreign policy, European affairs, and trade. She has served at several Swedish diplomatic missions abroad, including Seoul, Copenhagen, Paris, Washington, and Geneva. When Sweden became a Member of the European Union in 1995, Marie-Claire Swärd Capra joined the services of the European Commission in Brussels subsequent to the European concours. She returned to national diplomatic service in 1998.
Consul General, Consulate General of the Federal Republic of Germany, Shanghai
Pit Heltmann is the Consul General of Germany in Shanghai, overseeing the consulate's operation in the region.
Mr Heltmann joined the German Foreign Office in 1988 after obtaining his master's degrees in Japanese studies and geography from the University of Bonn, and has primarily engaged in diplomatic work in Asia since then. He has successively served as Deputy Head of Mission and First Secretary at the Embassy of Germany in Mongolia (1994-1998), Director of the Trade Promotion Office and Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Germany in China (2001-2004), Deputy Head of the Division for Cultural Relations with the Americas, Africa, and Asia at the German Foreign Office (2004-2007), and Deputy Head of Mission and Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Germany in the Philippines (2007-2010). In August 2010, Mr Heltmann was appointed Head of the Press and Cultural Section and Minister Counselor at the Embassy of Germany in Japan, and in July 2012, he was promoted to Head of the Political Section and Minister Plenipotentiary.
In August 2014, Mr Heltmann returned to Berlin and assumed the position of Director General for Foreign and Security Policy at the Federal Press and Information Office. In July 2018, Mr Heltmann was appointed as the Ambassador of Germany to North Korea, and has been serving his current role as the Consul General of Germany in Shanghai since July 2021.
Professor of International Relations, Tongji University
Dr Wu Huiping is a Professor of International Relations from Tongji University. She actively engages in teaching and research in German and EU studies. Her specific research fields include political parties, diplomacy and security, immigration, education, Sino-German and Sino-European relations, and the theory and practice of European integration.
Professor Wu is the Deputy Director of the Center of German Studies at Tongji University, vice-chairman of Shanghai Institute for European Studies, and a board member of Chinese Association for European Studies. She was also a research fellow at the Political Section of the Chinese Embassy in Germany.
Professor Wu holds a Ph.D. from the Technical University of Darmstadt (Technische Universität Darmstadt) in Germany.
China Director of The Economist Intelligence Corporate Network
Mattie Bekink is responsible for the Economist Intelligence Corporate Network’s China strategy, including programme development and client engagement across China.
Ms Bekink has extensive experience in the public, private and policy sectors. Prior to joining The Economist Group, she was the Executive Director of the Fulbright Commission in the Netherlands. She also ran an eponymous consulting business, advising businesses, universities and non-profit organisations on China policy, strategy, public affairs, and CSR. Ms Bekink practiced law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, has worked with the US-Asia Law Initiative at NYU Law School and the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative China Program, and served in the legal department at General Motors China.
Ms Bekink has a BA in International Relations from Stanford University and a JD from the Georgetown University Law Center.
Shanghai Director of Economist Intelligence Corporate Network
Weisi Xie is the Shanghai Director at the Economist Intelligence Corporate Network (EICN), and is responsible for engaging with top executives in the region on key economic and political issues as well as industry-specific analysis to support their businesses in the dynamic Chinese market.
Mr. Xie served as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University before joining EICN. As a trained trade economist, his teaching and research mainly focused on the fields of international trade, industrial economics and economic development, with a particular emphasis on China’s economy in a global perspective. He also possesses extensive expertise in the non-profit sector through work experience with think tanks and international organizations, including the Shanghai Institute for National Economy and the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Geneva, Switzerland, where he contributed to multiple government counseling projects and policy studies. His work has appeared in leading academic journals as well as major economic policy publications.
Mr. Xie has a Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and a B.A. in International Business from Southwestern University of Finance and Economics.