The EU, US, and China in the Age of Disruption: Impacts and Solutions.

The European Shippers' Council, in cooperation with College of Europe, are pleased to welcome you to the conference 'The EU, US and China in the Age of Disruption: Impacts and Solutions'.

The relationships between the EU, US and China are at the heart of the global political and economic systems. For several years, these relationships have been undergoing a period of disruption that threatens the foundations of the global systems, and which has potential impacts on foreign policy and security, trade and investment and through the climate and the environment on the sustainability of human life itself.
This conference on the relationship between the EU, US and China aims to consider developments in the key dimensions of the triangle.

The global economy is being disrupted by disputes over trade and investment that threaten global growth through impacts on production, logistics and supply chains. Issues such as the digital economy and technology sovereignty have become key items on the policy agenda in the EU. The US is adopting unilateral policies in an economic war against China and threatens similar action against the EU, which invokes retaliation. At the same time there are unresolved frictions between the EU and China over their bilateral economic relationship as the EU demands a level playing field. Even within the system of global governance under the WTO major disputes such as those between the US and EU over aircraft subsidies threaten significant economic disruption.
All this occurs at a time when the system governing trade and resolution of disputes at the WTO generally appears under threat from failure to agree common principles and solutions to problems.

President von der Leyen has announced that the EU will have a geopolitical commission, while both the US and China pursue their own geopolitical priorities. Numerous unresolved crises are on the agenda across the globe that threaten political security. Examples include the problems of Brexit in Europe, Iran in the Middle East and the Korean Peninsula in East Asia, which implicate all three actors and are global in their possible impacts. Broad issues such as cyber security and technological competition have increasingly become geopolitical challenges. Beyond individual issues, the global system of multilateral relations in which the EU, US and China are key actors faces disruption.  The international system built over many decades is itself being challenged and unilateral power calculations and national interest threaten to undermine cooperative solutions and a global order. Underlying this, the system is disrupted by changing (bilateral) relationships as the power of actors increases or declines.

Simultaneously the world faces a climate and environmental crisis in which the EU, US and China are inseparable in both the causes and solutions. While the US withdraws from the Paris Agreement, the EU and China have reaffirmed their commitment, but recent events suggest that even this will not be sufficient to guarantee its success. Regardless of the issue, for instance CO2emissions,  air and water pollution, the use of plastics, or recycling of waste, the three actors are key sources of the problem and are necessary for the solution. Green sustainability has risen to the top of the agenda in the EU and China, but it remains unclear whether this is sufficient to change the economic landscape.

The preliminary agenda is as follows:

9.30 - 10.30 Introduction and keynote speaker
10.30 - 10.40 Book introduction
10.40 - 11.00 Coffee break
11.00 - 12.30 Panel 1 Geopolitics
12.30 - 13.30 Lunch
13.30 - 15.00 Panel 2 Trade and Investments
15.00 - 15.20 Coffee break
15.20 - 16.50 Panel 3 Sustainability
16.50 - 17.00 Closing remarks


European Shippers' Council (ESC)
Blvd. Auguste Reyers 80
1030 Brussels

College of Europe
Dijver 11
8000 Brugge


Brussels, Belgium

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