The Federal Republic of Germany and the People’s Republic of China established diplomatic relations in 1972. Since then, German-Chinese relations have become very close-knit and multi-faceted while acquiring ever greater political substance.
China was once again Germany’s most important trading partner in 2019, with a volume of trade of almost 200 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 under the comprehensive strategic partnership. China views Germany both economically and politically as a key partner in Europe. The regular high-level coordination of policy in some 80 dialogue mechanisms, as well as dynamic trade relations, investment, environmental cooperation and cooperation in the cultural and scientific sector, are key elements in bilateral relations. Germany also advocates closer relations between the EU and China and increased EU unity towards China.
Although bilateral relations are developing positively overall, fundamental differences remain. This is true in particular with regard to human rights, above all individual freedoms and questions regarding the application of international law, the international order and the interpretation of multilateralism. Germany maintains a keen interest in China opening its markets, 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 is the rule of law dialogue together with bilateral human rights dialogue.