Federal Foreign Minister Heiko Maas (SPD) would like the EU-China summit within the German EU Council Presidency in the second half of the year, at the end of the year at the latest. China is the largest trading partner of the Federal Republic. However, it is necessary that relations with the Asian country not be limited to “economic and trade issues,” according to Maas. Europe must have common values in dialogue with Beijing. It is also in China’s interest to continue researching and combating the Coronavirus, Maas recalled. All over the world, mistakes have been made in responding to the virus, he added.
The President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), Dieter Kempf, has meanwhile emphasized that it was important to assert one’s own interests without going overboard. China is a competitor, but at the same time “an important partner for the EU and Germany”. “Reducing existing dependencies without giving up the benefits of a globalized economy is now the job for many companies,” said Kempf. Demand from China has resulted in around 4 percent of German added value being exported, directly and indirectly, in 2019.
In the meantime, the Green Party chair, Annalena Baerbock, has demanded that, for instance, production in the medical sector, which is central to Germany, should take place in Europe more than it has until now. Baerbock supported tariffs on imported steel.
Previously, BDI chief executive Joachim Lang said he hoped for an investment agreement with China later this year. “China would be well advised to complete it.” The current conflict between the United States and China affected the international economy of the Federal Republic, and the atmosphere in world trade. Lang also implied that it was important to avoid too many challenges for China. There are also voices in China warning of the disadvantages of conflicting positions, he implied.