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Figures on the Billiard Table: EU-China Dynamics in the Wake of the 2024 European Elections

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“Red over green, white over green, new figures emerged like signs; quickly they blew away, nothing remained; music without melody, painting without representation; just squares, rectangles, diamonds, in large numbers; balls sloshing against the black edge.

While still a powerhouse in its own right, Europe’s relative influence on the world stage has been diminishing over the last few decades. Data, for example, highlight a significant shift in global trade patterns away from the old continent. According to a recent Brookings’ calculation, South-South trade had by 2009, i.e., around the time of the global financial crisis, increased from 10.9 per cent to 25.0 per cent worldwide. South-South trade thus surpassed North-North trade for the first time in world history. Today, 35.0 per cent of global trade is accounted for by South-South merchandise trade, and just 25.0 per cent of global trade is North-North trade. One important factor in this is a surging China-Africa trade. With China’s bilateral trade with Africa rising from 2.7 billion dollar in 1990 to 209 billion dollar in 2022, China has now become Africa’s single largest trading partner.



(Photo credit:  Cal Gao, Unsplash)