© Reuters. Individuals take a look at a display displaying German Financial system and Local weather Minister Robert Habeck throughout the German Employers’ Day of the Confederation of German Employers’ Associations (BDA) in Berlin, Germany September 13, 2022. REUTERS/Michele Tantussi
By Christian Kraemer
BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany’s economic system minister mentioned on Tuesday the federal government was engaged on a brand new commerce coverage with China to scale back dependence on Chinese language uncooked supplies, batteries and semiconductors, promising “no extra naivety” in commerce dealings with Beijing.
Sources informed Reuters final week the economic system ministry was contemplating a raft of latest measures to make enterprise with China much less engaging. That is the primary time the minister has made clear the harder line was being translated into coverage measures.
Robert Habeck informed Reuters that China was a welcome buying and selling companion, however Germany couldn’t enable Beijing’s protectionism to distort competitors and wouldn’t maintain again criticism of human rights violations beneath risk of shedding enterprise.
“We can not enable ourselves to be blackmailed,” he mentioned in an interview.
Habeck didn’t define new measures in full, however mentioned they would come with nearer examination of Chinese language investments in Europe, equivalent to infrastructure.
China has been Germany’s greatest commerce companion for the previous six years, with volumes reaching over 245 billion euros ($246 billion) in 2021.
However the centre-left authorities is taking a harder line in direction of Beijing than its centre-right predecessor, nervous about Germany’s dependence on Asia’s financial superpower.
On Thursday, Reuters reported the economic system ministry was contemplating measures together with decreasing and even scrapping funding and export ensures for China and not selling commerce festivals.
Habeck mentioned Germany should confide in new buying and selling companions and areas as many sectors had been closely depending on promoting to China.
“If it (the Chinese language market) had been to shut, which isn’t possible in the intervening time … we’d have excessive gross sales issues,” Habeck mentioned, including the economic system ministry was contributing to the brand new German-China coverage, a lot of which is already in place.
“And from this you will note that there isn’t any extra naivety,” he added.
Berlin additionally desires to look at Chinese language investments in Europe extra critically, he mentioned, including Europe mustn’t assist China’s Silk Street Initiative, which goals to purchase up strategic infrastructure in Europe and affect commerce coverage.
For instance, Habeck signalled he was against plans by China’s Cosco to purchase a stake in a container operator at Germany’s Hafen Hamburg port, signalling issues about Chinese language takeover offers are spreading out from the know-how area into different trade sectors, equivalent to logistics.
“I am leaning in direction of the truth that we do not enable that,” he mentioned.
China has not joined the West in imposing sweeping sanctions on Moscow following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, however has additionally not endorsed Moscow’s actions as Beijing wants to keep up commerce relations with Europe.
($1 = 0.9943 euros)