10 March 2016

China, Brexit, & the EU: Challenges, Uncertainties, & Opportunities

Location London School of Economics
Beginning 10  Ending 18-NR-20160310DETS10TE18

The LSE IDEAS China Foresight Project in partnership with the Dahrendorf Forum hosted a full-day workshop on the 10th of March titled as: “China, BREXIT and the EU: Challenges, Uncertainties and Opportunities?”

The workshop comprised an ensemble of three panel discussions and explored the very strategic aspects of the China-EU relations as well as the newly developed ties between Beijing and London. It also assessed the likely impact on Brexit to the newly revived Sino-UK comprehensive strategic partnership. The panellists consisted of a number or current serving diplomats, distinguished journalists and leading LSE academics who have worked on China-EU relations for many years.

Much policy discussion and media coverage of EU-China relations have been focused on trade and investments. Despite championing their bilateral ties as a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” it seems that the strategic element of these relations has not explicitly been on the agenda of Brussels, the EU member states and Beijing. Some speakers also pointed out the EU misunderstood China’s motivation and strategy to engage with Brussels and member states simultaneously.

Most discussions on the Sino-UK relations have focused exclusively on Chinese investments to the UK and London’s status as an offshore trading hub of Renminbi amongst the UK think-tanks and universities. However, as some speakers pointed out both China and the UK are permanent members of UN Security Council, gravely affected by the common transnational challenges such as global warming and Islamic extremism. Beijing and London should not constrain their partnership to bilateral trade and investments. Rather, they should demonstrate courage and determination as great powers to reinvent themselves as enablers of cooperation, focused on using their global influence to contribute to global public goods.

The audience for the workshop was by invitation only. IDEAS invited a selected number of serving and retired (‘Track II’) practitioners from UK government; foreign embassies in London; and business representatives from UK multinationals with interests in China-EU relations. These mixes of backgrounds and perspectives have enabled the co-production of knowledge between academics and practitioners as all Dahrendorf Forum events aim for.


Speakers included:

  • Prof Erik Berglof, Director of LSE Institute of Global Affairs
  • Dr Nicola Casarini, Senior Fellow at IAI (Istituto Affari Internazionali)
  • Professor Michael Cox, Director of LSE IDEAS
  • Mr. Guy de Jonquieres, Senior Fellow at ECIPE and former FT Asia Editor
  • Dr Robert Falkner, LSE Department of International Relations
  • Mr Davide Giglio, Head of North East Asia, Italian Foreign Ministry
  • Professor Chris Hughes, Head of International Relations, LSE
  • Mr Emmanuel Loriot, Minister Counsellor at the French Embassy,UK
  • Mr James Richard, Head of Government Relations, De La Rey