9th UACES Workshop on EU-Asia Relations & the Race for Global Resource Leadership

UACES-KAS-RECAP-Logo-Banner 9th UACES Workshop on EU-Asia Relations & the Race for Global Resource Leadership

Executive Summary

9th Workshop on EU-China Relations in Global Politics

‘EU-Asia Relations
&
The
Race for Global Resource Leadership’ 

Virtual Workshop 
Wed-Thu, 4-5 November 2020

UACES-KAS-RECAP-Logo-Banner 9th UACES Workshop on EU-Asia Relations & the Race for Global Resource Leadership

The 9th Annual Workshop on EU-China Relations in Global Politics was held on 4-5 November 2020 and for the first time virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s topics included energy, political economy, circular economy, and business management methods. Academics and professionals from around the world presented insightful papers to an audience of some 40 participants covering diverse aspects of these topics in Asia and Europe. As every year, the Workshop took place in the framework of UACES Research Network on EU-China Relations and is supported by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change in Asia-Pacific (KAS RECAP). The event was hosted by Deakin University and the ESSCA EU*Asia Institute.

Race No. 1: Energy Resources

UACES-KAS-RECAP-Logo-Banner 9th UACES Workshop on EU-Asia Relations & the Race for Global Resource Leadership

The first paper was presented by Dr. Ali Cheshmehzangi from the University of Nottingham Ningbo China on “Adaptive Thinking for Resilience Enhancement: The Multi-Scalar Analysis from Communities to Global Resource Management During the Outbreak Events”. Resource management through adaptive thinking has been a common concept for business operation. However, it was rarely seen to be applied on community, city, or regional scale. The pandemic this year uncovered the need for enhancing the resilience of key infrastructure to disasters, and one probable way of achieving greater resilience is through adaptive thinking. By making adaptive use of current resources, communities, cities, and even countries increase their capability to prevent catastrophes from happening or better deal with their negative impacts. Dr. Cheshmehzangi proposed that apart from adaptive use of resources, adaptive production, as well as regional coordination, would also greatly enhance resilience to disaster events.

The final paper presented in this Race on Resources was by Dr. Kaho Yu from Verisk Maplecroft on “Political Economy Risks in the Global Energy Supply Chain: From Oil Price War to COVID-19 Crisis”. The energy market has been through a turbulent year in 2020. The ongoing pandemic, coupled with the oil price war produced oil prices at unprecedented lows. Therefore, the question is: how do energy markets, environmental, social and governance criteria (ESG), and political risks evolve during the pandemic? The pandemic has caused major disruption to the supply chain. To combat this, companies are diversifying their supply chain outside of China, the so-called ‘China-plus-one’ strategy. Manufacturing of products for the Chinese market will remain in China while manufacturing for other markets will likely relocate abroad to increase diversification and resilience of the supply chain. In terms of energy, due to diplomatic tension, China is seeking to reduce vulnerability by diversifying its energy and resource imports as well. At the same time, it seems that major greenhouse gas emitting countries are prioritising economic recovery rather than energy transition due to structural issues, while developed countries like the European Union (EU) member states will take this crisis as an opportunity to make a leap in the energy transition.

Race No. 2: Political Economy, Industrial Policy & Infrastructure

UACES-KAS-RECAP-Logo-Banner 9th UACES Workshop on EU-Asia Relations & the Race for Global Resource Leadership

The Workshop continued with presentations on political economy. The first presenter was Prof. Dr. John Ryan from the London School of Economics with the paper on “The United Kingdom’s unclear road to trade deals with the European Union & China”. Since Brexit, the United Kingdom (UK) has been looking for establishing some sort of trade relationship with the EU or China. However, such a goal seems to be far-fetched. For China, its priority is on domestic demand as the internal market continues to expand; and the current political environment between the UK and China does not favour a trade deal. Regarding the EU, no-deal Brexit appeared to be the prospective scenario because the level playing field is tilted towards the EU. Thus, after Brexit, the UK is highly likely to be left without any special trade relationship with its major trade partners.

The next presenter was Dr. Junchi Ma from the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences with the paper on “The Small Player in Big Game: Central & Eastern Europe in China-Europe Relations”. Central and Eastern Europe countries, due to their small country status, are seen to have little strategic autonomy and political sovereignty. Because of their heavy reliance on Western markets and relatively small trade volumes with other big powers like China, they do not have the leverage to influence the decisions of the EU. Thus, their interests are often overlooked in EU-China relations. Without political and economic sovereignty and autonomy, Dr. Ma concluded, the region cannot be seen as an independent power in EU-China relations.

The second paper was presented by Dr. Susan T. Jackson from Stockholm University onSustaining Risk: Managing Security & ESG”. ‘Sustainability’ has been mentioned in financial markets for quite some time, but how do these markets and rating companies actually view them? Are sustainability and political risks treated separately in business communication of risk? Dr. Jackson found out that even though Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have been emphasised in climate mitigation policies, there was no linkage with politics because political risks were not mentioned at all. Thus, the stock markets and rating companies still hold a traditional view on political risk while SDGs are considered a compliance issue only. Dr. Jackson, therefore, argued that business lacks a drive for systematic change.

The third paper was presented by Dr. Anastas Vangeli from the EU*Asia Institute at ESSCA School of Management on “The Free Market in Retreat? Cooperation & Competition as Pathways of Diffusion of State Capitalism”. In the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI), there was norm diffusion of state capitalism at the expense of the free market, Dr. Vangeli observed. This norm diffusion was done through either cooperation or competition. First, in BRI cooperation projects, countries introduced legislation overriding the free-market principles. In the EU’s case, such instances are happening in EU’s periphery. Second, due to the EU’s trend to caution about China’s involvement, the EU is fostering competition through securitisation of economic assets within the EU and more scrutiny of interaction between China and the EU. This phenomenon does not conform with the free market principles either. In conclusion, Dr. Vangeli asserts that while adapting to rising China, the EU, itself, is changing as well. Although no country has fully converted to state capitalism, its underlying ideas are diffusing into the EU’s system through the process of hybridisation, and now China is adapting to EU’s changes as well.

The last paper in this Race was from Dr. Astrid Pepermans from the Free University of Brussels on the topic of “Scoring Points in Europe: China’s Football Strategy Towards the European Union”. In the football world in Europe, China’s involvement can be seen more and more often. Sponsorships, partnerships, and football club acquisitions. Chinese money keeps pouring into the European football market. Dr. Pepermans observed that Chinese private companies were receiving government support while making these investments. It is because these investments strategies align with national interest in football clubs. Football is considered a very useful public relations tool for Chinese companies to increase their exposure exponentially in a positive fashion. So, China sees it as a means to develop its soft power with very few drawbacks since it believes positive images of its companies will, in turn, paint a positive image towards the whole country.

Race No. 3: Circular Economy & Materials

UACES-KAS-RECAP-Logo-Banner 9th UACES Workshop on EU-Asia Relations & the Race for Global Resource Leadership

The first paper in this session was presented by Shoaib Khan from the IGIB Council for Scientific & Industrial Research on the topic of “Exponential Technologies for Regenerative Capitalism”. Global resource extraction is experiencing exponential growth, and the conventional linear model of production is not adequate to satisfy such demand. As a result, circular economy, or even spiral economy, is nothing but a necessity in the long run. Through the use of exponential technology, the current by-product of industrial production is capable of being a platform for limitless possibilities. As of late, countries like Germany, the Netherlands, China, and Japan have enacted legislations in preparation for this economic transformation.

The next presenter in this Race was Maximilian Rech from the ESSCA School of Management, Shanghai, with his paper on Coopetition in Geo-Economic-Policy – A Foreign Direct Investment Strategy for the Belt & Road Initiative”. China promised that the BRI would be open and transparent for the world to participate. Nonetheless, the EU plays very little part in its projects. However, the involvement of Western companies in these projects can be observed despite the lack of Western presence at the state level. It was because the strengths of these Western companies were complementary towards the BRI projects in question and thus leading to network-level coopetition, meaning that there is still room for involvement from international actors. Even though there is competition at the state level, Rech concludes that complementary strengths of Western companies can lead to cooperation in individual projects at the business level.

Race No. 4: Business Models & Management Methods

UACES-KAS-RECAP-Logo-Banner 9th UACES Workshop on EU-Asia Relations & the Race for Global Resource Leadership

In the final session on business models, Dr. Yang Xu from Peking University presented his paper on the topic of “Data Supply Chain Management for Data Governance & Operation”. As the pace of digitalisation increases, so is the accumulation of data. Apart from the drastic increase in data scale, diversity has been increasing as well. All these will shrink the proportion of valuable data, making value discovery more and more difficult. Also, because of the vast accumulation of data, new challenges such as unclear data ownership, high data collection cost, difficult data sharing, and the lack of data openness due to privacy and property concerns emerge. In view of this, Dr. Xu proposed five key points for data supply chain management: clarification of data ownership, intelligent data collection, capitalisation of data resources, process-oriented data supply, and value-oriented data service. These five points should be capable of collecting and storing data in a more efficient and effective manner, and in turn, simplify data governance.

The final presenter of this session was Dr. Giorgio Caridi from E-Campus University with his paper on “New Management Methods & Business Models: Business Networks & Hybridized Cultural Resources”. As of late, a novel business model appears for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). This model creates a network consisting of businesses of similar or related nature. Businesses within the network commit to not compete with one another, and the competition will occur between systems of different value while shared business functions will be centralised. The model allows SMEs to reach the critical mass by aggregating them into a networked organisation while maintaining the advantage of flexibility by remaining an SME for each business. Also, this model increases the competitive advantage of each business and even the entire network. Thus, it may be a path for SMEs to enhance their competitiveness.

UACES-KAS-RECAP-Logo-Banner 9th UACES Workshop on EU-Asia Relations & the Race for Global Resource Leadership

The UACES Best Paper Award sponsored by the EU*Asia Institute

Dr. Frauke Austermann and Dr. Shen Wei, the founders of the UACES Research Network on EU-China Relations, were delighted to award This year’s UACES Best Paper Award was awarded to Dr. Susan T. Jackson, from Stockholm University for her insightful paper on “Sustaining Risk: Managing Security & ESG” – Congratulations!

Hosts & Moderators

A special thank you also to our hosts, chairs and moderators. We had the pleasure to be warmly welcomed by Professor Gary Smith, Deputy Vice-Chancellor Global Engagement at Deakin University and profit from insights, in-depth expertise and detailed feedback from each of the moderators. On day one, Professor Andreas Goldthau, Franz Haniel Professor for Public Policy of the Willy Brandt School at the University of Erfurt & Research Group Leader at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS) moderated Race 1 on Energy Resources and Dr Kerry Brown, Director of the Lau China Institute & Professor of Chinese Studies at King’s College London guided the participants through Race 2 on Political Economy, Industrial Policy & Infrastructure. The second day was moderated by Dr Serdar Türkeli, Coordinator for Social Entrepreneurship & Public Policy at the United Nations University – Maastricht Economic & Social Research Institute on Innovation & Technology (UNU-MERIT) for Race 3 on Circular Economy & Materials and Dr Bardo Fraunholz, Associate Professor & Director of Postgraduate Programs in the Department of Information Systems & Business Analytics in Deakin Business School at Deakin University steered a lively discussion on Race 4 on Business Models & Management Methods.

The Organisers

The 9th UACES KAS Workshop on EU-China Relations in Global Politics was organised in the framework of the UACES Research Network on EU-China Relations and is supported by the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change in Asia-Pacific (KAS RECAP). The event was hosted by Deakin University, College of Europe and the ESSCA EU*Asia Institute.

Useful Links

University Association of Contemporary European Studies (UACES)

Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung Regional Project Energy Security and Climate Change in Asia-Pacific (KAS RECAP)

Deakin University – International Relations Office

ESSCA EU*Asia Institute at ESSCA School of Management

The UACES Research Network on EU-China Relations on Global Politics

UACES-KAS-RECAP-Logo-Banner 9th UACES Workshop on EU-Asia Relations & the Race for Global Resource Leadership

Programme

9th Workshop on EU-China Relations in Global Politics

‘EU-Asia Relations
&
The
Race for Global Resource Leadership’ 

Virtual Workshop 
Burwood Corporate Centre, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

Wed-Thu, 4-5 November 2020

UACES-KAS-RECAP-Logo-Banner 9th UACES Workshop on EU-Asia Relations & the Race for Global Resource Leadership


DAY 1 – Wed, 4 November 2020 – Virtual Workshop on Zoom

Introduction to Workshop & Method
18.00h AST / 15.00h CST / 08.00h CET               

  • Prof Dr Gary SMITH, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Global Engagement at Deakin University, Geelong.
  • Dr Christian HÜBNER, Head of the Regional Programme Energy Security & Climate Change Asia-Pacific
  • Maximilian RECH, Director of Studies & Assistant Professor for International Affairs, ESSCA School of Management, Shanghai.

Race No. 1: Energy resources
18.15h AST / 15.15h CST / 08.15h CET

In a world that consumes ever more energy, energy security and supply are as vital as ever. Global electricity production has risen from 11,692 TWh in 1990 to 26,599 TWh in 2019, according to the Global Energy Statistical Yearbook – an increase of almost 3% year on year. At the same time, energy markets have not yet been able to accommodate increasingly diversified energy resources, ranging from fossil fuels to various renewables including hydro, wind, solar and waste biomass. COVID-19 and the ensuing economic slump has led to volatility in global oil markets, making fossil fuels affordable and slowing the transition to renewable energies. At the same time, national relief bills are focusing on investment in renewable energy infrastructure and global political and economic debates seek to prioritise future technologies. In that sense, the COVID-19 pandemic may accelerate the disruptive innovation and favour innovative players in energy markets. The United Nations Environmental Programme’s global trends in renewable energy investment show that renewable energy capacity investment was geographically diversified across the globe and more cost-effective than ever, with investment totalling 282 bn USD in 2019. The apparent acceleration of investment in renewables combined with rapidly changing cost structures, driven both by state intervention and volatile energy markets, may have a disruptive impact not only in energy generation itself but across wide sectors including technology and resources.

Chair & moderator
Prof Dr Andreas GOLDTHAU, Franz Haniel Professor for Public Policy of the Willy Brandt School at the University of Erfurt. Research Group Leader at the Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS).
Paper presentations (each 10 min)
Dr Ali CHESHMEHZANGI, Department of Architecture & Built Environment & Director of the Centre for Sustainable Energy Technologies (CSET) at The University of Nottingham Ningbo China. “Adaptive Thinking for Resilience Enhancement: The Multi-Scalar Analysis from Communities to Global Resource Management During the Outbreak Events.”

Dr Susan T. JACKSON, Affiliated Researcher at the Department of Economic History & International Relations of Stockholm University. “Sustaining Risk: Managing Security & ESG.”

Dr YU Kaho, Senior Asia Analyst of the Politics Team at Verisk Maplecroft. “Political Economy Risks in the Global Energy Supply Chain: From Oil Price War to COVID-19 Crisis.”
Moderated discussion with questions & answers

Coffee Break (15 min)

Race No. 2: Political economy, industrial policy & infrastructure
20.00h AST / 17.00h CST / 10.00h CET

The global political economy is ever more interdependent. The resilience of internationalised production processes and global supply chains present a challenge to companies. To give an example, more than 160 component suppliers from six countries contribute to making an iPhone. Hence, resources, such as energy, materials but also talent, knowledge and production processes, are dispersed around the globe. Meanwhile, the Coronavirus (COVID-19) has exacerbated the dangers of health pandemics and their potential negative effect on the world economy. The global political economy has momentarily come to a standstill and the disruption of supply chains but also the limitations on international travel have caused production process to come to a standstill. Crisis response and a speedy economic recovery is key to kick-starting the global economy and closer economic cooperation between the United States or the European Union, China or Australia may help. Whilst interdependence remains a fact of life for all parties involved, each player seeks to identify the best strategies to facilitate the economic revival and secure access to resources as well as ownership of infrastructure and connectivity. At the same time, nations became painfully aware of the need to ensure technological sovereignty and strategic autonomy to guarantee supplies. Thus, the role of state intervention and industrial policy cannot be underestimated when it comes to questions such as trade, investment flows and technological development.

Chair & moderator
Dr Kerry BROWN, Director of the Lau China Institute & Professor of Chinese Studies at King’s College London.
Paper presentations (each 10 min)
Prof Dr John Ryan, Visiting Fellow at LSE IDEAS at the London School of Economics & Political Science & Network Research Fellow at Center for Economic Studies (CESifo), Munich. “The UK’s unclear road to trade deals with EU & China.”

Dr MA Junchi, Assistant Professor in the Institute of European Studies, Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). “The Small Player in Big Game: Central & Eastern Europe in China-Europe Relations.”

Dr Anastas VANGELI, Research Fellow at the EU*Asia Institute of ESSCA School of Management. “The Free Market in Retreat? Cooperation & Competition as Pathways of Diffusion of State Capitalism.

Dr Astrid PEPERMANS, Doctor-Assistant at the Political Science Department and Frédéric CLAERHOUT, Graduate Student at Free University of Brussels. “Scoring Points in Europe: China’s Football Strategy towards the European Union.
Moderated discussion with questions & answers


DAY 2 – Thu, 5 November 2020 – Virtual Workshop on Zoom

Race No. 3: Circular economy & materials
18.00h AST / 15.00h CST / 08.00h CET

The global public has never been more concerned about global environmental degradation than today. The momentary economic slowdown during COVID-19 has reduced greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, but societal costs were paramount and China’s rapid recovery points to a return to the status quo. In the scramble to provide sustainable solutions, there are two main debates: firstly, what materials are we using for production and consumption, specifically in high-tech, and how sustainable are they? Think of lithium, titanium or rare earths: Who has access? How are they mined and processed? Secondly, how can a circular economy help save the environment, with its concept of ‘reduce-reuse-recycle’ and the ‘share-repair’ principles? The shift towards a circular economy requires innovation in terms of policy frameworks, business models, design and technology, and consumer culture. There are many business models on the market addressing this. A successful implementation, however, also requires knowledge and networking of what works and what doesn’t, not only on a B2B level but also involving state actors and NGOs. The EU, China and other actors such as New Zealand increasingly promote the concept of a circular economy through policy interventions that may have an international impact. The question is then how to streamline different initiatives and advance on circular economy solutions?

Chair & moderator
Dr Serdar TÜRKELI, Coordinator for Social Entrepreneurship & Public Policy at the United Nations University – Maastricht Economic & Social Research Institute on Innovation & Technology (UNU-MERIT).
Paper presentations (each 10 min)
Shoaib KHAN, Graduate Student of International Environmental Law at the Indian Academy of International Law & Diplomacy & Research Assistant at the IGIB Council for Scientific & Industrial Research, India. “Exponential Technologies for Regenerative Capitalism.

Chloé DEMPSEY, Scholar at the Yenching Academy of Peking University, Beijing. “Cultivated Meat: Do Chinese Consumers Have an Appetite & What Does This Mean for the European Market?

Maximilian RECH, Director of Studies & Assistant Professor for International Affairs at ESSCA School of Management, Shanghai. “Coopetition in Geo-Economic-Policy – A Foreign Direct Investment Strategy for the Belt & Road Initiative through a Comparative Case Study Analysis.”
Moderated discussion with questions & answers


Coffee Break (15 min)

Race No. 4: Business models & management methods
19.45h AST / 16.45h CST / 09.45h CET

The global health pandemic has underlined the interdependence of the global economy. Competing strategies to emerge from the crisis focus on leveraging digitisation of business models and reassurance of consumers in times of changing consumption patterns. The so-called fourth industrial revolution, in which not only people but machines and ‘things’ are connected 24/7, combined with new technical possibilities such as robotics, artificial intelligence and virtual reality, causes entire business models to disrupt from one day to another. This, in turn, may strengthen economies and thus states that successfully manage digital transformation. Such an environment makes sustainable, and most of all, flexible and agile business models and management methods ever more vital to surviving. Start-up businesses have shown established corporates all over the globe how to be prepared and how to be adaptable enough to compete in the ever-faster business world. Keywords are design thinking, agile management, new work models and big corporate intrapreneurship via incubators and accelerators. These methods and models have also gained a foothold in state administrations and may be of help to keep up in the race for global resource leadership.

Chair & moderator
Dr Bardo FRAUNHOLZ, Associate Professor & Director of Postgraduate Programs in the Department of Information Systems & Business Analytics in Deakin Business School at Deakin University.
Paper presentations (each 10 min)
Gabriela RADU, Independent Researcher. “The Subscription Economy.

Dr XU Yang, Associate Professor at Peking University. “Data Supply Chain Management for Data Governance & Operation.”

Dr Giorgio CARIDI, Professor at LUMSA & E-Campus University. “New Management Methods & Business Models: Business Networks & Hybridized Cultural Resources.
Moderated discussion with questions & answers

 

UACES Best Paper Award & Concluding Remarks
21.30h AST / 18.30h CST / 11.30 h CET

  • Dr Frauke AUSTERMANN, Associate Researcher at the ESSCA EU-Asia Institute
  • Prof Dr SHEN Wei, Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor for International Relations at Deakin University & Founding Co-Chair of the Alliance of Chinese and European Business Schools (ACE)


End of Virtual Workshop
22.00h AST / 19.00h CST / 12.00h CET


Scientific Committee

The event takes place in the framework of the UACES Collaborative Research Network on EU-China Relations organised by ESSCA School of Management & College of Europe. The event is generously supported by Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung, Regional Project Energy Security & Climate Change Asia-Pacific (RECAP), based in Hong Kong SAR China.

  • Prof Dr MEN Jing, InBev-Baillet-Latour Chair of EU-China Relations at College of Europe
  • Prof Dr SHEN Wei, Associate Dean for International Relations at Deakin University & Jean Monnet Chair in EU-China Relations at ESSCA School of Management
  • Dr Frauke AUSTERMANN, Affiliate Researcher of the ESSCA EU*Asia Institute
  • Dr Christian HÜBNER, Director of the Regional Programme Energy Security & Climate Change Asia-Pacific (RECAP) at Konrad-Adenauer-Foundation

* In light of the ongoing developments with regards to the Coronavirus Infectious Disease 2019 (COVID-19), and with the safety, health, and wellbeing of all participants in mind, the organisers reserve the right to evaluate the situation regularly. For the time being, the Conference is foreseen to be organised as a Virtual Workshop.