By Ian Johnson Date: June 30, 2009
European companies remain bullish on China, but say more reforms are needed to keep growth strong, according to a survey by the European Union Chamber of Commerce in China release Tuesday.
The annual survey of 300 companies is usually made at the end of the year, but the chamber said it moved the survey up because of the dramatic downturn in the world economy. In addition, the chamber itself has been sharply critical of recent steps China has taken to protect local industries.
Against this backdrop, almost all of the 300 companies surveyed said the global downturn had hurt them, but more than a third said China had become more important. Reflecting confidence in China＇s near-term prospects, almost half of all respondents said the crisis ＇will be over＇ in the first half of 2010.
But this recognition of China＇s importance was tempered by several factors. One was a recognition that China is more of a passive player than an actor in the global economy: 78% of respondents said China cannot drive the world recovery in the near term. Even in the long run, less than half saw China taking a leading economic role.
＇Our members welcome the stimulus package and the Chinese government＇s efforts to sustain growth,＇ European chamber President Joerg Wuttke said in a statement. ＇But they clearly feel that not enough has been done to unleash the potential of China＇s economy.＇
One chief concern of businesses here is that they see the current stimulus package as inadequate. Only 13% said it would help in the long run, with China needing more free competition and fewer monopolies.