• Germany's news in English
 

Merkel pledges to avert EU-China trade war

Published: 27 May 2013 06:15 GMT+02:00

Germany will push in the next six months for discussions on resolving the disputes between Brussels and Beijing over Chinese telecom products and solar panels to avoid it ending in mutual tariffs, Merkel said.

Both she and Premier Li Keqiang, who is on his first foreign tour since taking office in March, told a joint press conference that they rejected trade protectionism which hurt both sides.

Under pressure from German industry, Merkel said Germany would do its utmost to resolve the issues by pushing for talks to avoid "lapsing into a kind of dispute which finally only ends in mutual tariffs".

"I will, as head of the government, advocate that we, at the European level, as quickly as possible have intensive discussions with the Chinese side on the questions at issue," Merkel added.

Germany is by far China's biggest European trading partner. While German motor vehicles and auto parts, machinery and electrical goods find a vast export market in the world's second-largest economy, China needs technology from Germany.

German exports to China amounted to €66.6 billion ($86 billion) last year, according to official German data.

But as both the EU and China suffer the knock-on effects of a sharp economic slowdown, the slew of looming trade disputes - over telecoms, solar panels and steel tubes - has turned up the heat.

Li, whose tour has also taken in Switzerland, India and Pakistan, said China "resolutely" rejected the European Union's plans to probe the country's telecom products and impose taxes on solar panels.

He said the move would not only threaten jobs in China and hit the branches concerned, but also affect the interests of European companies, consumers and industry.

"To this effect, this measure is a measure that doesn't serve the particular interests and also damages others," Li told reporters through an interpreter.

"Therefore we hope that through joint efforts and through dialogue and consultations, the trade disputes between China and the EU can be settled acceptably," he added.

And he said that the EU decisions sent the "wrong signal" that trade protectionism had made a "comeback".

Germany is the only stop among the EU's 27 member states for Li on the trip, in a sign that Beijing wants to continue their special relationship, analysts say.

"From the German side, it's all about trade. Germany sees China essentially as a large export market on which it's increasingly dependent," Germany expert Hans Kundnani, of the European Council on Foreign Relations, told news agency AFP.

Merkel made two trips to Beijing within just seven months last year and said Sunday the two sides wanted to further bolster their already "close" relations, citing four areas - industry, IT, urbanisation and agriculture.

But for China, Germany is not only economically important in providing much-needed technology but also plays a strategic part in helping to combat Beijing's fear of the US and Europe teaming up against it, Kundnani said.

Li said his visit to Germany was also about visiting the EU. "We want through the intensification of cooperation with Germany, to also advance the relations and cooperation with the EU," he said.

EU exports to China totalled $212 billion, with imports of $334 billion in 2012.

AFP/mry

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Cologne's giant bomb successfully defused
The bomb was burrowed deep in the ground. Photo: DPA

Cologne's giant bomb successfully defused

Bomb disposal teams have successfully made a 1,000-kilo explosive dropped during the Second World War safe, allowing 20,000 evacuated people to return to their homes. READ  

Cabinet revives plan to grab internet records
Anti-surveillance demonstrators in Berlin's Alexanderplatz in 2013. Photo: DPa

Cabinet revives plan to grab internet records

Germany's coalition government agreed on a draft law on Wednesday requiring telecoms companies to keep customers' data for up to ten weeks in case they are needed by security services, riling digital rights activists. READ  

The Local List
Germany's most idyllic swimming spots
Photo: Celsius / Wikimedia Commons.

Germany's most idyllic swimming spots

A European ranking released last week showed that Germany had one of the highest numbers of 'excellent' lakes and rivers for swimming, so The Local picked out some of the best places to take a dip in Germany this summer. READ  

Mediterranean migrant crisis
Germany to take most in refugee quota project
The German navy rescues refugees in the Mediterranean. Photo: DPA.

Germany to take most in refugee quota project

Germany found out on Wednesday it will have to take in the largest number of refugees under the European Commission's new quota system which aims to rehouse 60,000 people over the next two years. READ  

Foreign investors rate Germany Europe's best
A worker assembling motors at a Magdeburg factory. Photo: DPA

Foreign investors rate Germany Europe's best

Germany is behind only China and the USA as a destination for foreign investment, a study has shown. READ  

Merkel 'deceived' public on No-Spy treaty
Photo: DPA

Merkel 'deceived' public on No-Spy treaty

Chancellor Angela Merkel's government tricked the public into believing the USA was prepared to sign a so-called 'no-spy agreement' with Germany ahead of elections in 2013, a report in the Süddeutsche Zeitung claimed on Wednesday. READ  

Forbes: Merkel still world's mightiest woman
Photo: DPA

Forbes: Merkel still world's mightiest woman

Chancellor Angela Merkel tops the Forbes list of the world's most powerful women for the fifth straight year but Hillary Clinton is snapping at her heels, the magazine said on Tuesday. READ  

German public shop with renewed confidence
People throng the halls of the Milaneo shopping centre in Stuttgart. Photo: DPA

German public shop with renewed confidence

Consumer confidence in Germany is at its highest in 13.5 years, as the positive economic outlook and low inflation persuade consumers to open their purses, a poll found on Wednesday. READ  

Shocked fishermen hook a shell of a catch
Locals enjoy the normally tranquil Seeburger See

Shocked fishermen hook a shell of a catch

A couple of friends who went for a quiet spot of fishing on Lake Seeburg in Lower Saxony on Monday got the fright of their life when they pulled up their net to find an artillery shell inside. READ  

10 facts to celebrate Leipzig's 1,000th birthday
Leipzig's impressive skyline. Photo: Wikimedia Commons

10 facts to celebrate Leipzig's 1,000th birthday

This weekend the city of Leipzig is celebrating its 1,000th anniversary, since it was first mentioned by the chronicler Thietmar of Merseburg in 1015. The Local gives some insight into one of Germany's most vibrant cities. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Travel
Why the train strike is bad for passengers and workers
National
Meet Germany's Eurovision hope
Business & Money
Is 2015 a new moment for jobsharing?
Features
How the LGBT rights movement was born in Germany
National
Why you don't make bomb jokes at the airport
National
Why Germany needs a little less tipple
National
Who Germans and Americans trust... and don't
Politics
What the UK election means for Germany
National
Why Germany is great for mums
Features
The Germans with GI dads
Five ways Germany falls short on gay rights
Travel
Giant tortoise found riding Munich rail
National
FCK CPS? A-OK with court
Politics
Opinion: Brexit's dangers for Germany
Features
Smart kids all want to work for BMW
National
Minister shows off top Denglisch
National
Germany's 'other genocide' in Africa
National
Arms firms get a 'must do better' mark on ethics
Sport
Bayern's anticlimactic 25th Bundesliga win
Politics
A Greek learning politics in Germany
Features
The battle of the "Gates of Berlin"
National
Germany's 'very poor' lobbying record
National
Germany's favourite baby names of 2014
Politics
Merkel's 15 years at the top of German politics
Travel
Lowest of the low: how woman exploited Germanwings crash
Features
Spice up asparagus season with The Local's serving suggestions
Sport
Football and the €30,000 firework
Technology
Why scientists oppose killer robots
National
'Cannibal cop' gets 8 years
National
Which city is Germany's worst for drivers?
Technology
Electrifying 'Ostalgia'
National
Cologne Cathedral returns from space
Pupils mourn lost classmates
National
Freed after 25 years on death row
Shutterstock
Sponsored Article
10 things you didn’t know about Zagreb (and why you should go)
Is your workload 'out of control'? You're not alone...
Sponsored Article
What expat parents should ask before choosing a school
Features
Paddy's Day, Berlin style
National
Why east Germans are happy to get it on on camera
National
Uplifting thoughts to get you through the last week of winter
National
What would you do with a 250-year-old pretzel?
National
Who wants the Olympics more - Hamburg or Berlin?
Features
Just why is the German flag Schwarz, Rot, Gold?
Business & Money
Getting German workers and bosses thinking positive
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,693
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd