Fo­cus on mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism in Merkel visit

She meets with Xi and Li, says Ger­many won’t pull out of Ira­nian nu­clear deal

China Daily European Weekly - - China News - By HU YONGQI huy­ongqi@chi­nadaily.com.cn

China and Ger­many are ex­pected to up­hold free trade and mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism and cre­ate new op­por­tu­ni­ties for bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in man­u­fac­tur­ing and in­no­va­tion, ex­perts said ahead of Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel’s 11th visit to Bei­jing, which be­gan on May 24.

Now in her fourth term, Merkel met with Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping and Premier Li Ke­qiang in Bei­jing on May 24.

The Ira­nian nu­clear deal should be com­plied with in or­der to keep re­gional peace, said Li and Merkel on May 24 while meet­ing with the me­dia.

The mul­ti­lat­eral deal, which was ap­proved in 2015 by the UN Se­cu­rity Coun­cil, should be safe­guarded, and China ap­pre­ci­ates all par­ties’ en­deav­ors, in­clud­ing Ger­many’s, to keep the deal work­ing, Li said.

If the deal is over­turned, not only would the Ira­nian nu­clear is­sue be af­fected, but also other in­ter­na­tional is­sues that should be re­solved through po­lit­i­cal means, he added.

Merkel said Ger­many will not pull out of the deal, which she de­scribed as the best choice after rounds of tough ne­go­ti­a­tions. Ger­many and China be­lieve the deal is worth pro­tect­ing, she said.

Li said China and Ger­many both up­hold mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism, rules-based free trade, trade lib­er­al­iza­tion and fa­cil­i­ta­tion of in­vest­ment.

He said world peace and re­gional sta­bil­ity should be cher­ished to en­sure pros­per­ity for all coun­tries. Li called for an ex­pan­sion of bi­lat­eral in­vest­ment with Ger­many in a more in­clu­sive way as China opens its door even wider.

Bi­lat­eral trade hit $168.1 bil­lion (143.3 bil­lion euros; £125.5 bil­lion) last year, up by 11 per­cent year-onyear, with Ger­many hav­ing a trade sur­plus of $27.8 bil­lion, the For­eign Min­istry said.

Chen Xin, an eco­nomics re­searcher at the In­sti­tute of Euro­pean Stud­ies at the Chi­nese Academy of So­cial Sciences, said: “China has been Ger­many’s largest trad­ing part­ner in the past two years. Both coun­tries should voice a shared stance against uni­lat­er­al­ism and sup­port for mul­ti­lat­er­al­ism.”

China and Ger­many can en­hance their co­or­di­na­tion on the Ira­nian nu­clear deal now that the United States has pulled out, he said.

This year, China will host the China-Ger­man prime min­is­ters’ reg­u­lar meet­ing, but Merkel comes at a special time in a chang­ing in­ter­na­tional sce­nario, said Chen Fengying, a se­nior world econ­omy re­searcher at the China In­sti­tutes of Con­tem­po­rary In­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions.

Her visit is cast in the shadow of ris­ing trade pro­tec­tion­ism and the de­ci­sion by US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump to with­draw from the Iran nu­clear deal.

The out­come of Merkel’s at­tempt in Wash­ing­ton to get ex­emp­tions from steel and alu­minum tar­iffs re­mains un­known.

China has re­it­er­ated its stance of fur­ther re­form and open­ing-up, which cre­ates new chances for for­eign com­pa­nies, in­clud­ing those from Ger­many, and is ex­em­pli­fied by tar­iff cuts for au­to­mo­biles, Chen said.

In ad­di­tion to Bei­jing, Merkel has vis­ited nine Chi­nese cities, in­clud­ing Shang­hai and Tian­jin. This time, she will head to Shen­zhen, Guang­dong prov­ince, where she is sched­uled to visit a Siemens fac­tory and a Chi­nese busi­ness startup.

In­no­va­tion is key to the high-tech strate­gies of both coun­tries, and Shen­zhen has grown to be a fron­tier city for this.

WU ZHIYI / CHINA DAILY

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping meets with Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel at the Great Hall of the Peo­ple in Bei­jing on May 24.

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