The core objective for transatlantic cooperation on China should be to prevent Beijing from remaking the international order in its image. The transatlantic partners should aim to preserve the democratically-led international order. For Europe, rather than calling out China specifically as the adversary, it would be less toxic to frame the challenge in terms of a competition between democracies and autocracies. The transatlantic partners should pursue three sub-objectives across the trade, technology, and global governance domains.
Promote free and fair trade. In the trade domain, the transatlantic partners should push back on China’s market-distorting actions. Most pressingly, the United States, Europe, and Japan should continue their work to rewrite the rules on state subsidies in the WTO. To advance an affirmative agenda, the transatlantic partners should restart conversations about WTO modernization and reform.
Advance democratic digital rules and standards. As a first step, the transatlantic partners should proactively build joint risk assessments evaluating potential risks from Chinese providers of key critical technologies. At the same time, the United States and Europe must also run faster. This will require joint innovation of critical technologies.
Preserve democratically led global governance. The transatlantic partners must lead in international organizations. To start, the partners should prioritize United Nations leadership elections and jointly support the same democratic candidate. China often engages in block voting in standard-setting organizations, such as the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). The transatlantic partners should therefore block vote to support democratic standards. Finally, they should bring along third countries to promote democratic norms and standards.