This simple move by China could demolish the EU’s aggressive agenda — RT World News

Visa-free travel may not seem like a big deal, but it casts doubt on rhetoric about Beijing being “closed” and “bad for business.”

by Timur FomenkoPolitical analyst

Last week, Beijing announced that citizens of six European Union countries – Germany, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and Portugal – will be allowed to visit China for 15 days without a visa, allowing them to bypass the cumbersome process of obtaining a Chinese tourist visa.

The announcement comes about a week before the upcoming China-EU summit, which will include a visit to Beijing by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, as well as European Council President Charles Michel.

Recently, von der Leyen has engaged in increasingly tough rhetoric regarding Beijing, including making a number of complaints about what she refers to as “China’s unfair trade practices“, presses for”Eliminate risks“, demanding greater market access, and threatening to impose tariffs on Chinese renewable energy goods. On the other hand, Beijing criticized this position and urged the European Union to take a friendlier and more cooperative approach, touting the benefits of engagement.

So how does China respond to this situation? Announces an unprecedented visa exemption plan for specific countries in the European Union. Although this may seem like a small gesture, it is a big deal. The central complaint and criticism coming from the West toward China in recent years is that it has increasingly become “uncomfortableTraveling to it, of course from 2020 to early 2023, was practically impossible. This is because the level of bureaucracy and regulation for incoming travelers in the Chinese country has intensified, making obtaining a visa even for tourism a nightmare process.

To obtain a Chinese tourist visa, one must make an official appointment with a specific office. If you don’t live in a major city, this means you should travel to one. Depending on the country, these offices can be busy, meaning you can’t get an appointment on a whim. When you make your appointment, you should have already booked every element of your trip in terms of flights, accommodation and dates, and then fill it all out in a comprehensive online form, which will ask you about unusual and boring details like family members’ occupations. You must also bring and submit scanned passport images and photographs, as well as the full passport itself. If you make a mistake in the appointment date, it cannot be changed.

After paying for all of that, after a few business days you can get your passport back with the visa occupying a page inside it. The tourist visa will only last for one year, requiring you to repeat this process later if you are a regular visitor to the country. Therefore, China suddenly turns around and says to some EU countries: “Oh, you don’t need to do that anymoreThis is a big deal. It is an extremely generous gesture, and is unlikely to be extended under any circumstances to any of the Five Eyes countries. But behind all this there is an ulterior political motive: to frustrate the European Union.Eliminate risks” from China.

If you are a European business person from one of these key countries, which coincidentally represents the bulk of the EU economy, your ability to enter China and do business has improved significantly. It’s a friendly gesture, it’s helpful. Do you think those German, Dutch and French executives who are being asked to reduce their presence in China will be more inclined to listen to von der Leyen and her ilk when they say de-risking? Why do they do that? Access to the Chinese market has become a little easier, thus the de-risking agenda has been thwarted. After all, business groups oppose such agendas in the first place. The German automobile industry will never abandon the Chinese market.

In addition, the move also undermines the common Western narrative that China “Close“To the world, that Xi Jinping is bad for business, and the public mood.”Unfriendly.At the strategic level, Beijing is determined to keep the EU on its side as much as possible, a feat that has become increasingly difficult given all the US effort to undermine the relationship. But China recognizes the importance of making tactical concessions in the pursuit of long-term gains, and playing the visa-free card is a smart move. This is unlikely to sway skeptical EU leaders, but it is likely to create conditions for further expansion of trade relations between the EU and China whether they like it or not.

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of RT.

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