Government consultations in Berlin

Intensifying cooperation with China

Germany and China aim to further intensify relations, stressed Chancellor Angela Merkel following the consultations of the two governments in Berlin. A wide spectrum of issues were on the agenda. The matter of the recent events in Hong Kong was also raised.

Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang during the Sino-German government consultations

These were the third government consultations for the Cabinets of the two countries

Photo: Bundesregierung/Kugler

One outcome was a framework of action for Sino-German cooperation. Consultations covered a very wide spectrum of topics: foreign policy, development policy, education, agriculture and food security, as well as "the formats that are so important for us – the rule of law dialogue and the human rights dialogue," reported Chancellor Angela Merkel during a joint press conference with Prime Minister Li Keqiang. The fist of these dialogues has already been held, while the second is to be held before the end of the year.

These third Sino-German government consultations were attended by 26 ministers alongside the two heads of government. Angela Merkel praised the discussions. "What we set out to do will be done, and it will be done on time, and that is what makes these government consultations so valuable."

China forging ahead with economic reforms, says Li

Prime Minister Li Keqiang reported that his country is expecting economic growth "of about 7.5 per cent" in the coming year. China, he continued, is forging ahead with economic reforms. "We are consistently making it easier to access the market. We want to see more jobs created in China, to encourage more people to start up their own businesses, and thus to liberate additional growth potential."

Peaceful solution for Hong Kong

With respect to recent developments in Hong Kong, Li Keqiang expressed his hope that "the people of Hong Kong are wise enough and that the government of the special administrative region (Hong Kong) has the capacity to maintain the prosperity of the city and its social stability."

Angela Merkel welcomed the largely peaceful course of demonstrations in Hong Kong, and hoped that this will continue. "I hope that a free exchange of opinion will lead to a solution that can satisfy the people of Hong Kong."

Extensive partnership for innovation

At an economic forum following the consultations, Angela Merkel explained the goal of the joint framework for action, namely to extend Sino-German relations into a comprehensive partnership for innovation. This term should be understood in very wide terms. "We understand it to embrace educational opportunities as well as an appropriate legal system and social system."

China is far more than just a low-cost location for production with a gigantic domestic market, said Angela Merkel. This is partly because German businesses are increasingly seeing China as a valuable partner in the development of complex technologies. "As the partner country of Hannover Messe 2012, for instance, China presented itself to an international audience as a driver of industry. And as the partner country of CeBIT 2015, China will also demonstrate its strengths in the IT sector."

The preconditions for the success of this partnership for innovation are equal rights and equal opportunities. This will benefit both German and Chinese businesses, said Angela Merkel. "I am also convinced that China will benefit from treating Chinese and European businesses as equally as possible. This applies to access to public-sector contracts and commissions, as well as to the awarding of licenses. It applies to the opening of certain parts of the services sector, and of course to the framework for investment."

Sino-German relations
Beside the government consultations there are over 70 official dialogues with China, including a human rights dialogue and a rule of law dialogue. To extend these dialogues to include civil society too, the Sino-German Dialogue Forum was founded in 2005.

Sino-German economic relations have attained a high level and continue to develop dynamically, China is Germany’s third most important trading partner. The restructuring of China’s economy, which has hitherto been driven by exports, to sustainable, innovation-driven growth with more robust domestic consumption opens up great opportunities for German business. Germany is seen as an important partner in economic reform and in mastering the massive environmental problems and social unrest facing China.