7, September 2019
Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Angela Merkel have agreed to cooperate in the spirit of multilateralism and free trade, with the visiting German leader vowing to expand investments in China, which is its largest trading partner.
The development came as the two leaders met and held discussions in Beijing on Friday, when Xi pointed to the common interests of China and Europe in “safeguarding the basic rules of (a)multilateral trading system” and called for jointly upholding what he referred to as “international fairness and justice,” China’s state broadcaster CCTV reported.
According to the report, Merkel further described Beijing-Berlin dialog and cooperation as extensive and expressed Germany’s satisfaction in sharing China’s achievements on multilateralism and pledged to promote people-to people and cultural exchanges.
She further shared Xi’s perspective that unilateralism and protectionism also have adverse impact on Germany, insisting that trading partners should work to overcome differences and frictions through dialog and consultation.
The Chinese president then emphasized that as two of the world’s major economic powers with global influences, China and Germany should exhibit responsibility and “jointly uphold international fairness and justice,” the report added.
Xi further called for stronger cooperation between the two nations in emerging fields such as intelligent manufacturing, artificial intelligence, digitalization and 5G networks as well as new energy vehicles to jointly cultivate and explore future markets.
The report also cited Xi as saying that China is “accelerating the opening of its financial and service sectors” and would welcome Germany’s investment in such sectors, providing Berlin and others with newer opportunities.
Merkel, who is on a two-day tour of China at the invitation of Premier, Li Keqiang, further expressed Germany’s willingness to “play a constructive role in the development of EU-China relations” and to enhance communication and coordination with Beijing in the field of international affairs.
The visit came amid an escalating trade war between Washington and Beijing as China on Monday filed a complaint against the US at the World Trade Organization (WTO) after the Trump administration imposed new tariffs on billions of dollars of Chinese imports.
China’s Commerce Ministry declared in a statement that Beijing would defend its legal rights in accordance with the rules of the international body that limit the tariffs each country is allowed to charge.
The announcement came one day after the US began imposing 15-percent tariffs on a variety of Chinese products. In a retaliatory move, China also began imposing new duties on US crude oil.
This is while China’s Commerce Ministry further announced in a Thursday statement that trade negotiations aimed at ending a protracted tariff war with Washington are scheduled to resume in the US capital next month.
According to the statement, American and Chinese trade negotiators had earlier in the day held a phone conversation and agreed to meet “in early October” for another round of talks.
China’s Vice Premier Liu was further cited as saying that he spoke with US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on the phone and both parties agreed to hold what will be the thirteenth round of high-level economic talks in Washington at the beginning of next month.
The last round of the US-China trade negotiations was held in Shanghai in July, which was hailed as “constructive” but ended with no announcements.
Over the past year, the world’s two largest economies have been involved in a tense trade war, which escalated further on September 1 when both sides started implementing fresh levies on each other’s products.