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Start date: 01 Feb 2009, End date: 31 Jan 2012 PROJECT  FINISHED 

In 2007, China overtook Germany as the world’s largest exporter. Its trade surplus with the EU is rising at $20 million an hour. China makes up one-third of the annual increase in world oil demand, and emits the most greenhouse gases. Engaging a rapidly rising China is a great challenge for the EU. To do this more effectively, the EU needs a comprehensive understanding of China, especially of how the EU and its China initiatives and strategies are perceived in China itself. Through surveys, interviews, and focus groups, this study looks into how the EU is perceived by the Chinese general public, government officials, intellectuals, business and civil society. It will produce a comprehensive picture of how Chinese people see the EU: how China views its opportunities and challenges in dealing with the EU, how different government agencies view the EU, how government views differ from those of business and civil society, and how opinion in Beijing differs from that in the provinces. The recommendations from this study will lead to much more effective policies for the EU to deal with China, helping to reduce market restrictions, resolve the conflict over China’s exchange rate policy, lift barriers to EU investment in China, increase EU `green technology’ exports etc. A mere 5% increase in EU exports to China will make a difference of €3.2 billion per year to the EU economy. Our policy recommendations will facilitate greater cooperation on issues such as the Iran nuclear crisis, significantly improving the EU’s security. Our findings will contribute to a better projection of the EU’s image, enhancing the EU’s “soft power” in China. The project brings together a uniquely strong team from the University of Nottingham’s China Policy Institute, Leiden University, Jacobs University Bremen and Chatham House, as well as two strong Chinese partners. New knowledge from this research will help advance a number of social science disciplines.
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