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German CEOs plead for pragmatic China-Germany business relations

Xinhua | Updated: 2022-11-11 09:56

BERLIN -- In a joint opinion article published on Thursday, leaders of some of Germany's top companies, including BASF and Siemens, called for a pragmatic approach to fostering economic and business relations with China.

The op-ed said the presence of German companies in the dynamically expanding Chinese market was also serving the interest of the German economy. The article was co-authored by the leaders of Merck, Bosch, Trumpf, Heraeus, Schaeffler and the Port of Hamburg, and was published in the German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

The article takes stock of what the corporate leaders see as mutual advantages of expanding bilateral business ties with China. For Germany, the benefits can be measured, among other things, by the number of jobs linked to China-related economic activities, they said.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Germany. During these five decades, China achieved "tremendous growth, lifting 800 million people out of poverty and into a modern middle class," the article said. Germany was able to contribute to this development through technology transfers, exports and investments, it said.

To keep the momentum, the corporate leaders would like to see a pragmatic, interest-based approach to China both by Germany and at European Union (EU) level. "Turning our back on China would cut us off from these opportunities," they wrote.

The article was published one week after Chancellor Olaf Scholz had made his first official visit to China. He was accompanied by top German business representatives, including BASF CEO Martin Brudermueller.

The op-ed highlighted the sustainability of the economy and society as one of the new areas of mutually advantageous cooperation between the two countries, which are "natural partners in the fight against climate change".

The economies of scale in an expanding Chinese market could help accelerate the roll-out of new climate-friendly technologies, which is indispensable for avoiding a dangerous degree of climate change, the op-ed said.

Currently, Germany is one of China's most important trading partners in Europe, and China has been Germany's top trading partner for six consecutive years.

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