The fourth German-Chinese intergovernmental consultations were held in Beijing on Monday (13 June). The talks were co‑chaired by Li Keqiang, Premier of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China, and Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel. Political, economic and cultural cooperation between Germany and China is to be enhanced by a large number of agreements to be signed in Beijing. Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier accompanied the Federal Chancellor to the consultations and signed a Memorandum of Understanding on Trilateral Cooperation in Afghanistan.
Germany and China: an important strategic partnership
“Your country, China, and my country, Germany, have – together – got a lot on our plate,” Foreign Minister Steinmeier said at the opening of an exhibition in Beijing in April on the shift to green energy. China is Germany’s most important trading partner in Asia, and with a trade volume of over 160 billion euros in 2015, Germany is also China’s largest trading partner in Europe. China has been an attractive place for German companies to invest for many years.
However, the strategic partnership between Germany and China goes far beyond the economic level. During his visit to China in April, Foreign Minister Steinmeier thus underlined the particular need to work closely together in view of the large number of global crises and conflicts. In addition, the two countries hold regular high‑level talks on trade relations, investments, environmental cooperation, and cultural and academic collaboration.
Agreements on enhanced cooperation
In addition to these arrangements, a large number of agreements were signed at the fourth intergovernmental consultations, with the aim of making further progress on implementing the Plan of Action. Enhanced cooperation between Germany and China on energy policy, renewable energies and environmental issues is a priority goal. Both sides also underlined the importance of mutual investments as regards fostering growth and employment in their own country. In a joint declaration, Germany and China said that it was important to create a “positive and open climate for mutual investments”.
Both countries also want to coordinate their responses to crises and conflicts worldwide in a better way. The current main focus is on Syria, where Germany and China will work together to foster the upholding of the ceasefire, humanitarian access and progress on political talks.
Difficult topics were also on the agenda of the bilateral talks. For example, regular meetings such as the annual Rule‑of‑Law Dialogue and the Human Rights Dialogue will be continued, with the aim of fostering the development of rule‑of‑law structures and social security systems and making joint progress on human rights.
Joint projects in Afghanistan
Germany and China’s trilateral cooperation with third countries is also to be expanded, with joint projects in the fields of infrastructure, energy, transport, environmental protection, agriculture and health being set up. A concrete Memorandum of Understanding on Trilateral Cooperation in Afghanistan was agreed, where Germany and China plan to launch joint projects to support the country.