EU-China-US trilateral relationship in an uncertain world


28 September 2017


Egmont Palace, Place du Petit Sablon, 8bis, Brussels

Given the importance of the EU, the United States and China for the global system what are the prospects for trilateral cooperation in different policy areas? It might have seemed strange to consider such a question just a few years ago when the transatlantic relationship was unquestionably closer than either EU-China or US-China relations. But the swift rise of China as a global actor and especially the advent of Donald Trump as President of the US have brought about some fundamental changes.

Trump has openly avowed an ‘America First’ approach and rejected multilateral solutions to key issues such as trade and climate change. He has shown disdain for the UN and only reluctantly endorsed NATO after describing it as ‘irrelevant’. Meanwhile the EU and China have become the prime defenders of the Paris climate change agreements. In his Davos speech, President Xi defended free trade just as President Trump was pulling the US out of TPP. The EU and the US are the two biggest markets for Chinese exports but both have complained about access to the Chinese market.

There is already trilateral cooperation in some foreign policy issues, notably the DPRK, although the US-China relationship on this dossier is clearly critical. The conference will address three main themes:

  1. Global Issues (climate change, migration, multilateral institutions)
  2. Political/Security Issues (DPRK, Middle East, Afghanistan, Iran, Africa, Russia)
  3. Economic/Trade Issues (economic globalization, market access, investment negotiations; trade defence instruments, the Belt and Road Initiative)


08:30-09:00 Registration

09:00-10:30 Panel I. Global Aspects

Prof. Dr. Yinhong SHI, Renmin University of China

Prof. Dr. Nicola.Casarini, Italian Institute for International Affairs, Italy

Prof. Dr. Weiping HUANG, Renmin University of China

Ms. Isabel Hilton, editor of China Net (TBC)

10:30-11:00 Coffee Break

11:00-12:45 Panel II. Security Aspect

Prof. Dr. Yong DENG, US Navy Academy, USA

Prof. Dr. Canrong JIN, Renmin University of China

Prof. Dr. Emil Kirchner, Essex University, UK

Prof. Dr. Yongjun GUO, China Institutes of Contemporary International Studies

Prof. David Fouquet, CERIS

12:45-13:45 Lunch

13:45-15:30 Panel III. Economic Aspect

Prof. Dr. Chun DING, Fudan University, Shanghai

Prof. Dr. Gunter Heiduk, Warsaw School of Economics, Poland

Prof. Dr. Hua XIN, Shanghai International Studies University

Dr. Duncan Freeman, College of Europe

15:30-15:45 Conclusion

Prof. Dr. Sven Biscop, Egmont – Royal Institute for International Relations

Dr. Fraser Cameron, EU-Asia Centre, Brussels

Prof. Dr. Xinning SONG, Vrije Universiteit Brussel & Renmin University of China


Register here by 22 September