The Federal Republic of Germany and the People’s Republic of China established diplomatic relations in 1972. Since then, German-Chinese relations have become multi-faceted while developing considerable intensity and greater political substance.
China was once again Germany’s most important trading partner for goods in 2020, with a volume of trade of over 212 billion euro. In the face of international crises and mounting global challenges (including COVID-19, climate change), great importance attaches to German-Chinese cooperation and coordination. China views Germany both economically and politically as a key partner in Europe. The regular high-level coordination of policy conducted through a large number of dialogue mechanisms, as well as dynamic trade relations, investment, environmental cooperation and cooperation in the cultural and scientific sectors, are key elements in bilateral relations. Furthermore, Germany advocates substantive and reciprocal relations between the EU and China, as well as increased EU unity towards China.
Despite the close relations in the aforementioned spheres, fundamental differences of opinion remain, in particular with regard to human rights, above all individual freedoms and questions regarding the validity of international law, the international order and the interpretation of multilateralism. Germany continues to have a major interest in China opening its markets further, continuing its economic development, establishing rule of law structures and social systems, allowing more political and economic participation, resolving minority issues peacefully and in this spirit shaping its commitment in international institutions and in support of a rules-based international trade system. An important cooperation instrument for promoting the rule of law in China is the rule of law dialogue, as well as the bilateral human rights dialogue.