Von der Leyen, Biden and Michel at the EU-USA Summit
Executive Memo
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Executive Memo: Blast or Bluff? Gauging the momentum of transatlantic China policy

Today we are pleased to launch the latest addition to our portfolio of publications: the MERICS Executive Memo, a new format of concise, analytical handouts for decision makers on current China-related topics.

In the first issue “Blast or Bluff? – Gauging the momentum of transatlantic China policy,” MERICS Policy and Advisory Director Jan Weidenfeld offers an assessment of what to expect from a joint EU-US approach vis-à-vis China’s growing global influence.

In the first months of the Biden administration, the US and Europe have built up considerable momentum towards pursuing a meaningful transatlantic China policy. Key areas include economic policy, global infrastructure promotion, and tech competition with China. However, despite growing alignments towards a common perception of China’s role in global affairs, ambitions differ and joint policies will take time to implement. As Europe and the US are approaching a crossroad in global policies with markets and alliances rapidly changing, a full-fledged and wide-ranging transatlantic China policy is not yet a done deal.

The structure of this MERICS Executive Memo largely follows the recent report “Mind the Gap – Priorities for Transatlantic China Policy”, published by the Munich Security Conference, MERICS and the Aspen Strategy Group. The substance of this Memo has benefitted tremendously from exchanges in the framework of the Distinguished Reflection Group on Transatlantic China Policy, 21 individuals with a wealth of expertise on China and transatlantic relations. MERICS and the author bare sole responsibility for the content of this Memo.