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Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova and the Chinese economic expansion in Eastern Europe. OSW Commentary No. 79, 2012-05-28

Iwanski, Tadeusz (2012) Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova and the Chinese economic expansion in Eastern Europe. OSW Commentary No. 79, 2012-05-28. [Policy Paper]

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    The countries of Eastern European and China have been increasingly interested in deepening bilateral contacts over the past few years. In the case of Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova this has been caused by the bad economic situation which was in part caused by the consequences of the global economic crisis of 2008 and the desire to establish closer political relations with a country whose significance on the international arena is continually growing. Each of these countries has different expectations regarding the scale and the nature of co-operation with China. Chisinau wishes only to boost trade, whereas in Minsk and Kyiv, Beijing is also presented as a strategic partner whose investments may not only help the indebted economies recover but also strengthen the position of these countries in their dealings with the EU, and especially with Russia. Beijing sees co-operation with these countries in differently, and its offer is much more modest than Belarus and Ukraine are expecting. Eastern Europe is one of the last parts of the world with which China is activating its co-operation. This is not a priority region for Beijing. China wants to derive economic benefits and to diversify the markets on which it invests its financial surplus, and it does not intend to extend its political dialogue with Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova beyond the framework which determines its economic interests. The main reason for this is the nature of relations between Russia and China. Beijing sees its partnership with Moscow as more beneficial, and will not offer these countries support in their relations with Russia since in its opinion they belong to Russia’s sphere of influence. Minsk and Kyiv are pinning too much hope on their co-operation with Beijing, while China offers no real counterbalance to the Russian and EU influences in these countries. Nevertheless, it should be expected that China will capitalise on the beneficial political climate in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova to reinforce its influence in a region whose location will facilitate its expansion to the EU and the Customs Union markets. In the medium term, Beijing may become a major economic player in Eastern Europe. In a decade’s time this may translate into political influence. Meanwhile, in the short term, China’s financial engagement in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova will contribute to increasing the debts and deepening the foreign trade deficits of these countries.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > Ukraine
    Countries > Belarus
    Countries > Moldova
    Countries > China
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Commentary
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2014 14:50
    Number of Pages: 7
    Last Modified: 12 Dec 2014 14:50

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