Right now, on the 23rd June the inevitable question of ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ must be answered. In fact, the shouts and cries of the Brexiteers have reached as far as Beijing. President Xi Jinping has already said that a Brexit is ill-advised. Chinese officials have echoed the consequences of a potential break-up of the UK European Union EU membership, Brexit. They state that the British economy will not be prioritised above trade negotiations with the European Union. Issues such as trade and aspirations of British sovereignty have become fundamental, which both remain and leave voters have contended. It seems that the Chinese dragon would rather maintain the status quo and keep Britain anchored as a member of a European trade block.
This is an interesting position for the Chinese to take. There seems to be a distinct level of amnesia amongst the pro-remain camp regarding the rocky Sino-European relationship. In 2013 we learned that China had been supposedly selling solar panels at a reduced rate, a practice known as ‘dumping’. Such practices hurt German manufacturers resulting in a knee jerk response to impose an anti-dumping tariff. Such a cavalier response begs belief at the lack of European foresight. They might have considered that if you poke the dragon it will breathe fire. It ought to come as no surprise then that the Middle Kingdom launched a broadside on European exports. Let’s just say the punitive tariffs placed on EU wines and the hit to French vineyards was ‘merely’ collateral damage in the great machinery of European politics.
The Chinese seem to have played the game well. Given they ‘still have cards to play’, I would not bank on Mr Schultz winning any future Casino Royale style showdowns. He is no Daniel Craig, and “the Art of War” clearly hasn’t rubbed off on him. From such antics we must raise the question why must France disproportionately suffer at the behest of German manufacturers? Furthermore, is the European Union really such a well-managed trade block?
I would like to add that in the spirit of Dumas’ “The Three Musketeers” it seems rather apt to say that: ‘Un pour tous, tous pour un all for one and one for all’ definitely resonates within the EU. China’s priorities seem to focus on their recent investments in Britain that may be under threat. There is no surprise at the Chinese position given that these investments come from multinationals who favour the status quo and short term stability. From this perspective remaining may considered a stable and reasonable position. However, what Remainers fail to note is that staying in ‘remains’ just as much a risk as exiting. What is the positive outcome?
The future is uncertain for both sides but when petty trade disputes effect individuals unfairly in other countries questions must be raised as to the ramifications of joining such a club. The fact is that if its members are irresponsible then everyone suffers the consequences. As Brexiteers line up along the barricades for a last push to break the shackles of the European Union, the Chinese dragon will fly free, maintaining vigilance. Let’s just hope the final pages of Brexit do not resonate with Les Miserables, but rather that of a resounding vote of confidence in Great Britain, and the British people.