China and India: Implications for the EU Economy

CEPS Working Documents No. 280

14 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2009

See all articles by Daniel Gros

Daniel Gros

Centre for European Policy Studies, Brussels; CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Date Written: January 21, 2008


This paper provides background information on the likely challenges the rise of China and India will pose for the economy of the EU. The purpose is mainly descriptive, namely to spell out what kind of trading partner China and India will represent for the EU in the foreseeable future. A first observation is that India is several times smaller than China in economic terms. Moreover, because its investment rates in both human and physical capital are much lower than in China, its growth potential is likely to remain more limited.

China already now exports more manufacturing goods than all other emerging markets together. But its export structure is also evolving rapidly and has become rather similar to that of advanced economies like the EU. This 'convergence' is likely the result of a very rapid accumulation of human and especially physical capital. If current trends continue, China will have a capital/labor ratio similar to that of the EU by the end of the next decade. In terms of human capital, China has already caught up considerably, but further progress will be slowed down by its stable demographics and the still low enrollment ratio in tertiary education. In both areas, India lags China by several decades.

The rapid accumulation of capital suggests that the emergence of China will put adjustment pressures mainly on capital-intensive industries, not the traditional sectors, such as textiles. Another source of friction that is likely to emerge derives from the abundance of coal in China, resulting in a relatively carbon- and energy-intensive economy.

Keywords: Economic Policy of non-EU countries, Energy and Climate Change

Suggested Citation

Gros, Daniel, China and India: Implications for the EU Economy (January 21, 2008). CEPS Working Documents No. 280. Available at SSRN: or

Daniel Gros (Contact Author)

Centre for European Policy Studies, Brussels ( email )

1 Place du Congres
B-1000 Brussels, 1000

CESifo (Center for Economic Studies and Ifo Institute)

Poschinger Str. 5
Munich, DE-81679


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