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'Nobody Ever Wins Trade War' - Austria Plans to Become Bridge Between EU, China

CC0 / / Global economy
Global economy - Sputnik International
Margarete Schramboeck, Austrian Federal Minister for Digital and Economic Affairs, said she would like to see Austria function as a bridge between the European Union and China.

The Minister said Austria is looking to expand the country's economic ties with Asia by substantially increasing business visits to the region and attracting investments, from e-commerce to electric automobiles.

"We want to at least double or triple the number of Chinese investments in Austria," she told the Global Times in an interview earlier this month. "Chinese investments in Austria are still at the beginning. We can do more," she said.

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According to the 47-year-old Schramboeck, while Austria, which takes over the Presidency of the Council of the European Union for the third time this July, has the knowledge of eastern European markets, China can open the door to other Asian markets.

The minister condemned US' crackdown on Chinese imports and called for implementation of tax and data-protection rules to support new digital industries in Europe, demonstrating Austria's readiness to counter protectionist trade trends by opening up to countries outside the 28-nation bloc.

READ MORE: Austrian Politician on EU-Russia Sanctions: 'The Negative Circle Must Be Broken'

"Nobody ever wins a trade war, even if one side or the other country thinks it can," Schramboeck told Bloomberg in an interview.

The top government official participated in a record trade delegation this month, with Chinese and Austrian companies signing 30 business agreements worth 1.5 billion euros ($1.9 billion) and covering a wide range of sectors.

Derek M. Scissors, a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), has expressed his opinion on the issue:

"Of course one side can win a trade conflict, in fact both sides can. The question is whether there are trade barriers before the dispute. If there are, forcing the barriers to be reduced is a win".

Commenting on the prospects of the EU joining the US in trade standoff with China, he said:

"The EU has been expressing unhappiness with China on a variety of issues, from unbalanced investment to Belt and Road. China wishes to split the EU off from its economic dispute with the US, but it will have to make a concession to the EU to be successful. The US has its own choice with regard to tariffs — the US cannot expect the EU to both support its China initiatives and accept American metals tariffs. The EU prefers to join the US but it will wait to see how the two sides conduct their trade and investment policies."

The vies of the speaker do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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