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German machinery companies still confident in China

By Wang Xinyuan (Global Times)

08:18, June 14, 2012

German machinery exports to China are expected to recover in the second half of the year, but there are still challenges in terms of intellectual property rights and increasing competition from Chinese manufacturers, said the president of the German Engineering Federation (VDMA) at a press conference in Beijing yesterday.

Exports of German machinery to China have seen a slowdown since early in the year. Products delivered to China had negative growth of 11 percent in the first quarter from a year ago, said Thomas Lindner, president of the VDMA.

"However, we expect recovery during the summer, and therefore anticipate an increase of our exports to China for 2012," Lindner said.

"We saw firm signals from the government, including easing measures in the financial sector," Lindner noted, "so the expectation of better business in the second half is solid."

Germany exported machinery products worth 18.9 billion euros ($23.7 billion) to China in 2011, up 23.2 percent year-on-year. The bilateral trade volume in machinery manufacturing topped 22 billion euros in 2011, up from the equivalent of only 60 million euros in 1970, according to the VDMA.

Meanwhile, Germany imported machinery worth 1 billion euros from China in the first quarter of 2012, up 13 percent year-on-year, Lindner said.

The VDMA expects 12 percent growth in China's machinery production in 2012, based on an estimate that the industry will grow by 4 to 6 percentage points faster than GDP.

Intellectual property rights (IPR) issues, however, remain a challenge, Lindner said.

German machinery manufacturers lost revenues of 7.9 billion euros because of piracy in 2011, according to a survey in April by the VDMA. About 75 percent of the surveyed respondents claimed that the pirated products came from China.

"You cannot say that without proof," Su Zimeng, secretary-general of the China Construction Machinery Association, told the Global Times yesterday.

Some Chinese machinery manufacturers facing IPR charges have won lawsuits over the past two years, which shows that they are paying more attention to IPR protection, Su said.

Xuzhou Construction Machinery Group won a court case in which it had been sued for copyright infringement by British company JCB in 2010.

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