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Prime Minister Mark Rutte emphasized the need for a fair trade environment and intellectual property protection during his visit to China. The tense situation in Ukraine and increasing trade opportunities were high on the agenda. Rutte’s meeting with President Xi Jinping reflected a delicate balance between cooperation opportunities and expressing concerns about China’s ties with Russia. Export restrictions on ASML were also discussed, as well as national security issues and economic importance. Rutte’s visit shows a strategic approach to Dutch-Chinese relations against global turmoil.

Outgoing Prime Minister Mark Rutte’s recent visit to China was more than a routine diplomatic exchange. It marked a crucial step in shaping the future of Dutch-Chinese trade relations and political cooperation. Rutte’s agenda was complex, from trade opportunities to geopolitical tensions.

Why this is important

During Rutte’s visit to China, he sought a balance between economic opportunities and geopolitical concerns. No doubt ASML’s restrictions were also discussed. The visit shows the complexity of international politics and trade during global turmoil.

Trade and geopolitics intertwined

The talks with the Chinese leaders were about trade and the war in Ukraine. Prime Minister Rutte emphasized that Russia must not win the war, given the direct threat it would pose to Europe. He stressed the importance of a level playing field in trade and the protection of intellectual property, which, according to Rutte, are crucial for a fair economic relationship between the countries.

China’s dual role

During the meeting with Xi, Rutte expressed concerns about China’s close ties with Russia, an issue he described as “puzzling. For his part, the Chinese president warned against a return to a Cold War mentality and pointed to the dangers of protectionism and economic decoupling.

Trade between China and the Netherlands has doubled in the past decade and offers opportunities for further expansion, especially in sectors such as green energy and elder care. This growth potential adds urgency to discussions about export restrictions on ASML and intellectual property protection.

ASML: a point of tension

Dutch chip machine maker ASML is central to a technological and economic controversy. The Netherlands has imposed export restrictions on ASML for national security reasons, a move the Chinese want to discuss. Rutte stressed the need for transparency and a level playing field for businesses in China, calling current progress in these areas “insufficient.

These talks illustrate the Netherlands’ changing attitude toward trade with China. Where previously economic growth often came first, the balance is now sought between commercial interests and national security.

The future of NATO and Asia

Beyond bilateral relations, Rutte also shared his views on his possible future role as NATO secretary general. He expressed a desire, if elected, to strengthen ties with Asia. This is in recognition of Asia’s growing influence on the world stage and the need to keep the world stable. These statements show that Rutte’s visit to China is important not only for Dutch-Chinese relations but also for the position of the Netherlands on the broader international stage.

Deepening dialogue

Discussions between the Netherlands and China show a mutual willingness to deepen existing trade ties. Xi Jinping emphasized that China and the Netherlands are important trading partners within the EU and that cooperation remains desirable. After the meeting with Xi, Rutte had a conversation and dinner with Chinese Premier Li Qiang.

Rutte’s visit to China shows the complexity of international politics and trade during global turmoil. The balance between engaging in economic opportunities and expressing concerns about geopolitical issues is delicate. Rutte’s talks in China demonstrate a clear strategic vision for the future of Dutch-Chinese relations.