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China Overtakes Europe in Clean Energy Tech Research

China has become a powerhouse in clean energy, and has overtaken the EU on clean technology research, a paper prepared for the European Commission has shown.

“China has caught up with the EU in R&D expenditure. While Chinese R&D intensity more than doubled since 2000, EU R&D intensity grew much slower. As a result, China caught up with the EU while the US keeps a consistent lead,” according to the brief on the EU-China exposure in trade, investment, and technology.

“China is increasingly becoming a world leader in science and innovation, for several critical technologies outlined in the 2023 Commission Recommendation on critical technology areas for the EU’s economic security,” the authors of the study for the Commission wrote.

“This adds an additional layer of exposure, potentially deepening risks related to the resilience of supply chains, security of critical infrastructures, weaponization of economic dependencies or economic coercion,” they added.

The study also warned that the EU’s exposure to China is becoming increasingly technological.

“China wants to win the global race for leadership in key technologies, which it sees as of critical importance for its development and security,” the paper notes.

According to the study for the Commission, “China’s dominant position in manufacturing is particularly apparent in the area of clean tech.”
The EU is pushing forward to protect its clean energy manufacturing from Chinese competition by adopting measures to help its EV, solar, and wind industries.

The bloc has been looking for months to address its dependence on imported technologies, especially cheaper products from China, which undermine the market shares of European manufacturers.

For example, the EU’s recently unveiled package for the domestic wind power industry notes that low Chinese prices and shorter supply chains due to China’s dominance in steel production and raw materials “severely undermines EU companies’ ability to compete on a level playing field.”

 

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