China, Germany agree on commitment to multilateralism, opposition to trade protectionism

The Chinese and Germans perceive tariffs as a threat to the rules based trade regime

At a time when unilateral interests are being placed on a pedestal at the expense of multilateral commitments by some nations, Germany and China are recommitting to the multilateral, rules based order of trade and diplomacy. Germany’s President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier sat down to a meeting with the Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi to oppose unilateralism and trade protectionism.

Xinhuanet reports:

BERLIN, May 31 (Xinhua) — German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier met visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Thursday, with the two sides agreeing to safeguard multilateral system.

In the meeting at the presidential residence Bellevue, Steinmeier told Wang that as comprehensive strategic partners, Germany and China share broad common interests and solid foundation for cooperation.

In the midst of a complicated and changing international situation, the two sides should strengthen cooperation, in a bid to jointly safeguard global peace and stability, as well as promote world economic growth, said Steinmeier.

The German president highly appraised the first China International Import Expo (CIIE) scheduled to be held in November, in which Germany will fully take part. Steinmeier said the Expo will send a strong signal against trade protectionism.

The German side takes a positive attitude toward the Belt and Road Initiative, according to Steinmeier, who added that Germany is willing to actively cooperate bilaterally and trilaterally with China under this framework.

For his part, Wang said during German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s successful China trip last week, leaders of the two countries achieved important consensuses in strengthening comprehensive strategic partnership and jointly addressing global challenges.

The Chinese side is willing to join hands with the German side to implement those consensuses and promote new development of China-Germany bilateral ties, added Wang.

China welcomed Germany to take part in the first CIIE, and China is also willing to work with Germany and other sides to send a strong signal for safeguarding a multilateral trade system and building an open world economy.

China and Germany enjoy vast space for cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, according to Wang, who added that China will abide by international rules and stick to openness, transparency, as well as be committed to high quality and high standard in joint projects, in a bid to achieve mutual benefit and win-win deal among all countries.

In addition, Wang said the Chinese side supports European integration process, and hoped to work with Germany to exert the driving role of China-Germany bilateral ties in China-EU relations.

The two sides also exchanged opinions on the situation on the Korean Peninsula, Iran nuclear deal and other international issues with common concerns.

Wang also held talks with his German counterpart Heiko Maas on Thursday.

The meeting takes place while trade tariffs are coming out of Washington like hotcakes and exemptions to them expire for America’s trade partners. Both China and Germany have close trade relationships with Washington, but President Trump’s new tariffs regime is putting them under strain. The Chinese and Germans perceive the tariffs as a threat to the rules based trade regime that has persisted under the framework of multilateral agreements, also under threat by Donald Trump as he withdraws from one agreement after another, while wavering on his commitment to further agreements.


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