Merkel visit expected to boost Sino-German relations

08:25, July 15, 2010      

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel is to start a four-day visit to China on Thursday, a move widely expected to boost the countries' bilateral economic ties and political interactions.

The fourth visit of Merkel to China since she took office in 2005 is part of the high-level interactions boosting the bilateral ties.

Chinese President Hu Jintao and Merkel met at the nuclear security summit in April in Washington, followed by a state visit of German President Horst Koehler to China a month later. Leaders of the two countries also discuss world affairs through hot-lines.

Further boosting bilateral relations between China and Germany is in the interests of both countries, especially in trade and economy.

Germany's total exports dropped 18 percent last year due to the global economic slump, while its exports to China climbed 7 percent, the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reported.

Sino-German relations have been increasingly important under the new, post-crisis situation, the newspaper said.

Bilateral trade last year hit 105.73 billion U.S. dollars despite the global downturn, accounting for more than a quarter of the total China-Europe trade.

German officials have said that a large troupe of German businessmen, from sectors such as energy, automobile, finance and retail, are among the members of the delegation led by Merkel, suggesting that trade and economic issues will top the agenda of the visit.

A series of cooperation agreements will be also signed.

The strong economic ties will also help the global economy at a time when the world's economic recovery is still fragile.

China is pursuing a path of green growth by advocating energy saving and emission reduction, where Germany has a technological advantage. Analysts believe this can create opportunities if the two sides make joint efforts to promote research and development of renewable energy and set up a mutually beneficial technology transfer system.

German public awareness of China is also on a positive track, as more and more people, from lawmakers to workers, realize Germany needs better cooperation with China.

"We must learn to understand China, its great culture and huge potential," Merkel has said.

The global financial crisis and Europe's debt crisis has not reduced trade and investment between Germany and China, and China has become one of Germany's most important trading partners, said Wolfgang Roehr, who heads a Germany-China task group at Germany's Foreign Ministry.

In the post-crisis context, China and Germany should strengthen their exchanges and cooperation on a wide range of global challenges such as climate change, global financial reform and nuclear security.



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