For the second year in a row, China is Germany’s largest global trading partner. For its part, China conducts more trade with Germany than with any other European country. During Wang Yi’s visit to Villa Borsig, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas underlined that both countries value free trade and are willing to further deepen economic relations:
As two major trading nations, Germany and China have no interest in returning to the past as regards trade policy. Protectionism and isolation must not be allowed to gain the upper hand. We warmly welcome China’s announcement that it will open its markets further. Germany and the EU see this as an important sign, also as regards lowering import duties.
Maas said that China’s Belt and Road Initiative offers opportunities and raises questions: “The project’s reciprocity and transparency are very important to us.” Both sides, he went on to say, want a rules-based solution that ensures competition and market access.
Another important topic was the nuclear agreement with Iran. Minister Maas underscored that China and Germany have a joint position: “We want to persuade Iran to stay in the nuclear deal.”
Greater coordination on multilateral issues
Germany and China intend to work even more closely together at international level on other multilateral issues, as well: “In an uncertain age, there is an increased need for closer dialogue, also as regards foreign policy.” Foreign Minister Maas went on to say that this is an important step towards greater mutual understanding, also on issues on which the two countries hold different views. For the event that Germany is elected to the UN Security Council, the two Ministers had identified topics of common interest that could be placed on the agenda at the United Nations, the German Foreign Minister said.
Heiko Maas described the 2018 intergovernmental consultations as another core element of the strategic partnership between Germany and China, adding that this meeting had also focused on preparations for those talks. Finally, he expressly welcomed that Germany and China will continue to pursue their human rights dialogue.