The European Union is taking on China at the World Trade Organization (WTO). Brussels announced on December 20 that it is significantly broadening and deepening the scope of its action against Beijing.

The EU, together with the United States and Japan, has fought against unfair competition from subsidies, state-led enterprises and forced technology transfer, without naming but clearly eyeing China.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, the US has also complained to the WTO about Chinese policies on technology transfer and intellectual property rights, but also imposed tariffs on $50 billion of Chinese imports to force changes.

An EU official told Reuters that Brussels had informed its partners of its action, but the challenge was not a joint one.

The EU’s new complaint focuses on Chinese laws that regulate the approval of investments for electric vehicles and biotechnology and the approval of joint ventures across sectors.

“The so-called performance requirements force or induce European companies to transfer technology to their joint ventures with Chinese partners in exchange for the necessary administrative approvals by the Chinese authorities,” the Commission said.

“Foreign companies are also required to carry out research and development activities in China,” it continued.