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China becomes Germany’s greatest trade partner
February 25, 2017, 10:21 am

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet with delegates attending the first meeting of Sino-German Advisory Committee on Economy in Beijing, capital of China, July 7, 2014 [Xinhua]

China overtook the US and France to become Germany’s biggest trading partner in 2016, official data showed on Friday.

German imports from and exports to China rose to $180 billion last year, the Federal Statistics Office told Reuters.

Germany has maintained strong relations with China during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s 11-year tenure.

In June, she concluded her ninth visit to Beijing, during which she presided over the signing of some 96 agreements totaling $15 billion in trade.

During her last visit, Airbus Helicopters finalised an agreement to build an assembly line on a Sino-German business park in China and to sell 100 helicopters to a Chinese consortium.

Daimler AG and its Chinese partner BAIC Motor pledged to jointly invest 4 billion yuan ($608 million) to expand engine production.

Both countries agree on the importance of free trade and globalization, and have taken strong positions against protectionist trade policies.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese President Xi Jinping also have emphatically voiced their intent to ensure that the protectionism highlighted by US President Donald Trump does not roll back decades of global trade.

“There will be no return to a world before globalization,” Merkel said, adding:”Isolation, new nationalism and protectionism will not help us in this.”

There is growing fear that the Trump administration will undo much of the cooperation frameworks on trade and sustainable energy in place between G20 nations.

Germany took over the presidency of the G20 in December and last week hosted a meeting in Bonn.

Germany’s motto for its presidency is “Shaping an Interconnected World”, and German officials stress that the it indicates their desire to take globalisation forward through international cooperation rather than roll it back.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who chaired a conference preparing for the 9th BRICS Summit in September, said that BRICS members should exert maximum effort to maintain the openness of global economies and oppose trade protectionism.

Merkel has previously said that she favours, in principle, granting China market economy status at the World Trade Organization.

China has called on Merkel and other European leaders to fast track Article 15 of the protocol on China’s entry into the World Trade Organization.

China became a member of the WTO in 2001, but was accused of dumping its products in other member markets and had to adopt anti-dumping measures as stipulated by Article 15 on the Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.

China had to abide by a number of trade laws and regulations before it can be classified as a market economy.

Article 15 expired this past December.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies

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