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Qatar tribune


China and Germany have both benefited significantly from their bilateral trade relationship over the past few decades. The European nation’s industrial and engineering expertise has helped drive the growth of China as a manufacturing powerhouse.

Over the years, China has also become increasingly important for German companies as an innovative driver in research and development (R&D).

In turn, Germany’s digital transformation has been facilitated by leveraging a global supply chain.

Chinese electronic components, telecoms equipment and other technology have played a key role in this transformation. Last year, China was Germany’s largest trading partner for the eighth year in a row.

Discussions in the European Union have raised the issue of “de-risking”, to reduce the bloc’s economic dependence on China, during the past two years. Yet critics believe this stance ignores the mutual economic benefits brought about by this free-trade-based global cooperation.German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, during last month’s three-day visit to China – his second trip to the country in less than 18 months – highlighted this point by calling for “pragmatic” economic relations between the two nations.

His visit kicked off on April 14 with him inspecting Bosch Hydrogen Powertrain Systems (Chongqing) – a joint venture between the German engineering and technology company Bosch and Chongqing-based premium commercial vehicle manufacturer Qingling Motors, which was set up in 2021 to develop, assemble and sell hydrogen fuel cell systems in China.

Chinese President Xi Jinping met the German leader in Beijing on April 16, during which he noted that “the industrial and supply chains of China and Germany are deeply intertwined, and the markets of both countries are highly interdependent”, according to the Chinese foreign ministry.

Xi also said there was huge potential to be tapped by pursuing cooperation in both traditional sectors, such as machinery and car manufacturing, and new areas including green transition, digitisation and artificial intelligence.

Scholz was accompanied on his trip by executives from many leading German corporations, including Volkswagen, which on the eve of the trip had announced new investment totalling US$2.67 billion.

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