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Multilateralism and hi-tech economy: Why China-Germany cooperation matters

Updated: Jul 10,2018 9:47 AM

Premier Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held a joint news conference following the fifth round of China-Germany intergovernmental consultations on July 9 in Berlin.

With harmony comes more profit

Speaking after the meeting, at which a raft of economic cooperation agreements between German and Chinese companies were signed, Premier Li Keqiang confirmed that trade multilateralism is crucial, adding that China sincerely wants to further continue the cooperation between the two countries.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel echoed Premier Li’s stance that Germany and China are both committed to multilateralism and rules-based global trade order.

“We both want to sustain the system of World Trade Organization rules,” she said, stressing the importance of “reliable cooperation” between the two countries “in times of worldwide insecurity.”

When huge market meets innovative technologies

Merkel also praised China for opening up its markets to further foreign investment at the news conference. But how will the two countries deepen cooperate with each other?

First of all, they can complement each other as China needs technology and Germany needs markets. China has a huge domestic market, a large skilled labor force, and relatively low R&D costs. Germany, on its part, is known for its scientific and technological innovation, advanced manufacturing industries and small and medium-sized enterprises.

Inspired by Germany’s Industry 4.0 plan for intelligent manufacturing industries, China unveiled “Made in China 2025” initiative in 2015 to move up the value chain by transitioning from labor-intense production to “smart manufacturing.”

Second, they are natural partners. Structural similarities and shared economic interests are key for the enhanced relationship between China and Germany.

Germany’s BMW, for example, has a big market in China, so for these Chinese firms to be based in the heart of Germany’s auto industry means ideas can flow between the two nations.

‘Super engine’

Besides cooperation in the specific areas, China and Germany have also built a cooperative mechanism to help guarantee the smooth development of Sino-German ties.

Launched in 2011, the China-Germany intergovernmental consultation mechanism, known as the “super engine,” has played an important role in continuously enriching Sino-German relations, expanding pragmatic cooperation, and mapping out plans for future development between the two countries.

The mechanism has played an important role in coordinating and promoting bilateral cooperation in various fields, bringing tangible benefits to the two countries and their peoples.

Before the news conference, Premier Li and Merkel witnessed the signing of a slew of deals that cover agriculture, the auto industry and other fields.