The president of the European Central Bank said Sunday that with rising political pressure on countries to choose between the U.S. and China, the result of such a thing would lead to less economic growth across the world and should be avoided by “all means.”
European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde appeared on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” where she was asked about the increasing pressure on to side economically with either the U.S. or China, and whether the U.S. is losing its global influence.
“There is clearly a competition between these large economies,” Lagarde said, referring to the two nations.
Lagarde, a French politician and lawyer who previously served as managing director of the International Monetary Fund from 2011 to 2019, said she hoped that the U.S. and China can engage in dialogue and warned that trade should not be confrontational.
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“All these relationships, whether it’s trade whether it’s politics whether it’s economic development or whether it’s financial stability, it is a two-way street,” she said. “We cannot ignore each other, and trade should not be confrontational. … Conflict is not unavoidable.”
Escalating tensions between Washington and Beijing over Taiwan have highlighted China’s relationship with Europe and with countries in other parts of the world.
French President Emmanuel Macron visited Beijing last week accompanied by European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, just days after Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.
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The French leader also made comments during the visit that could have strained ties with the U.S. and exposed divisions within the EU.
“Being a friend doesn’t mean that you have to be a vassal,” Macron said Wednesday, repeating a remark from his trip that alarmed some European partners. “Just because we’re allies, it doesn’t mean (that) we no longer have the right to think for ourselves.”
Meanwhile, Lagarde said the outcome of choosing a side would lead only lead to economic downsides – one with still uncertain consequences.
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“The decoupling and the sort of bipolarization of the world would lead to less economic growth, less prosperity in the world, more poverty across the world,” Lagarde said. “I think this is something that should be by all means avoided.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.