Li_DanLi_Dan ・ Apr. 8, 2024
German Chancellor to Visit China This month, Accompanied by Top Business Leaders including BMW CEO: Report
Siemens, Mercedes-Benz, Merck and Thyssenkrupp said their CEOs will join German Chancellor OIaf Scholz when he travels China this month.

TMTPost -- A host of top German business leaders are reported to join in delegates that will accompany with Chancellor OIaf Scholz when he travels China later this month.

Credit:Xinhua News Agency

Credit:Xinhua News Agency

The reported corporate leaders include Siemens AG CEO Roland Busch, Mercedes-Benz Group AG CEO Ola Kaellenius, Merck KGaA CEO Belen Garijo and Thyssenkrupp AG CEO Miguel Lopez, Reuters reported, citing these companies’ statements. BMW AG CEO Oliver Zipse and Bayer AG CEO Bill Anderson are also in the list of participants, the report cited people familiar with the matter.

Scholz’s visit is set to be his first trip to China since his cabinet approved a long-awaited comprehensive China strategy last July. According to the 64-document of strategy, Germany, as Europe’s largest economy, decided to change its approach as the resulting of a changing China. In the strategy, Germany vowed to ensure economic cooperation with China “becomes fairer, more sustainable and more reciprocal.” It admitted China is an indispensable partner for global challenges like climate change and pandemics, while cautioned China's actions have led to growing international rivalry and competition. It said Germany wants to cooperate with China on WTO reform, but also prepared to respond if there is a continued lack of progress.

While Associated Press called the strategy “a balancing act”, Reuters noted it came as some Western policymakers advocated reducing dependence on China. Such attempt, which has been labeled by them as de-risking, was denounced by Chinese officials recently. Scholz clarified in July that Germany‘s first China strategy aims to take response to China’s increasing assertiveness, rather than to cut ties with the country.

“Our goal is not decoupling. However, we want to reduce critical dependencies in future. With China Strategy, we are reacting to a China that has changed and become more assertive,” Scholz said at his post at social media X, adding “China is and will remain a partner, competitor and systemic rival.” In another post, Scholz said Berlin will continue to work with China on economy and climate protection, and the China Strategy gives Sino-Germany relations a new framework.

The strategy was introduced less than a month after Chinese Premier Li Qiang took his first overseas trip since taking office. Li warned the German government against decoupling under the cover of de-risking. Li reiterated warning about de-risking soon after his wrapping up his trips abroad. Li blasted the Western countries’ attempts for de-risking and reducing dependency on China, reversing the historic trend of economic globalization. What made people more concerned about is that “the invisible barriers put up by some people in recent years are becoming widespread, and pushing the world into fragmentation and even confrontation”, China’s No. 2 official warned, in his keynote delivered late June at the opening plenary of the 14th Annual Meeting of the New Champions, also known as the Summer Davos Forum.

In Li’s four-day visit to Germany, China and Germany agreed to expand cooperation in a volatile world and made a joint call against any form of decoupling, Xinhua News Agency reported.  Scholz told Li that the German side welcomes China's development and prosperity, stating that Germany rejects all forms of decoupling and "de-risking" is not "de-sinicization." At a seminar with the German business community during his trip, Li said that risk prevention and cooperation are not opposites. "Failure to cooperate is the biggest risk, and failure to develop is the biggest insecurity," he noted.

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