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Russia, China should intensify dialogue on environment and climate, says expert

The expert stressed that environmental policy "has a very big impact" on economic interaction in the Russia-China-USA triangle

MOSCOW, March 9. /TASS/. Russia and China should intensify dialogue on environmental and climate issues in order to jointly propose to the world an environmental agenda that would counterbalance the unfair and discriminatory initiatives of the West, Dmitry Suslov, Deputy Head of the Center for Comprehensive European and International Studies at the Higher School of Economics said on Tuesday. He was speaking at an online conference held by the Valdai Club and the Center for Sino-Russian Strategic Cooperation of the CITIC Foundation for the Study of Reforms and Development of China.

The expert stressed that environmental policy "has a very big impact" on economic interaction in the Russia-China-USA triangle.

For example, the introduction of a carbon tax on imports of goods, the European Commission is developing as part of the European Green Deal, "will hit the United States and China very hard."

"There is a possibility that the United States, China and Russia oppose such EU charges, criticize it within the WTO for unfair competition, since this carbon tax is nothing more than unfair competition," the analyst said.

At the same time, the United States, where there is currently no consensus between the Democratic and Republican parties on environmental policy, may also introduce such a tax in the medium or long term, Suslov believes. Such a move could be "the start of a major new trade war between the United States and China," but unlike the current conflict, linking it to the fight against climate change will give it legitimacy in the eyes of Democratic voters.

"It is important already now to sharply intensify the Russian-Chinese dialogue on ecology and climate and jointly propose a global fair environmental agenda, perhaps within the BRICS. [This should be] an environmental agenda that does not highlight a privileged minority and an underprivileged majority, but encourages all countries to develop green technologies. The environmental agenda proposed by the West is unfair and discriminatory, "the expert noted.

US confrontation policy

The expert is confident that the administration of President Joe Biden will maintain the US confrontational course of the previous administration towards Russia and China, but some aspects of it will be altered. In particular, Washington will abandon such confrontational instruments as the arms race and trade wars, focusing on pressure on the domestic policy of other states and technological containment of competitors. The Biden administration is unlikely to introduce new trade restrictions against China, but one should not expect the previous ones to be lifted, the expert said.

"It is obvious that the lifting of the anti-Chinese restrictions that were introduced under Trump will be extremely disastrous for the Biden administration for domestic political reasons. It must be understood that the Republicans are very closely following Biden's policy towards China and will take any softening as proof of weakness, betrayal or Biden's dependence on China," Suslov stressed.

According to the expert, Washington's top priority will be to change the model of Beijing's economic policy in a direction, which is favorable to the White House: the United States will try to make China "accept more stringent obligations, including environmental ones, in order to slow down the dynamics of China's development."

It is the impact of the revision of US-Chinese relations on the political and economic opportunities of Moscow that will become the most important issue for Russia, Suslov stressed.

At the moment, according to him, economic relations between Russia and the United States "are very stable, despite the confrontation."

"The parties continue to depend on each other in certain areas. Most of Russian exports to the United States are not affected by sanctions, as are most of American exports. The Russian Federation and the United States cooperate where it is simply necessary and where it is very difficult and unprofitable to look for a replacement in the short term," the expert said.

Ties between Moscow and Beijing will be strengthened quantitatively due to the gradual economic breakdown between the United States and China, the analyst said.

"But it is necessary to strengthen them also qualitatively, in particular in the digital sphere, technological sphere," Suslov continued.

"Of course, while strengthening relations with China, Russia also needs to strengthen relations with other major Asian economies such as India and Japan," the expert noted.