+86 400 6656 526 info@sieghd.com

Speech by Ambassador Wu Ken at the “Foreign Economic Strategy Forum” of the industrial and commercial conference of the lower Rhine region


Dear Chairman tnois,

Dear chief executive of petrovsk,

Dear director hoisgen,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening,everyone! It gives me great pleasure to attend today’s strategic forum. The China lower Rhine business conference is not only an important member of the North Wales business conference, representing the interests of about 75000 enterprises, but also one of the bridges to promote China Germany cooperation. Many member enterprises have close cooperation with China. I would like to thank the China Rhine business conference for creating such an opportunity. I am willing to have frank exchanges with friends in the economic community of North Wales on issues of common concern.

The title set for me by the organizer is “trade in change? Prospects for Sino German economic relations in the era of uncertainty”. Indeed, the world we live in is entering a period of turbulence and change, and unstable and uncertain factors are becoming increasingly prominent. In particular, economic globalization is encountering unprecedented headwinds. It seems that the concept of free trade and open cooperation, which used to be familiar to us and have brought happiness and prosperity to China and the EU, is being questioned. The irrational impulse of protectionism, camp antagonism and advocating decoupling is on the rise. The phenomenon of politicization and even weaponization of economic cooperation is also increasing. This will undoubtedly bring new challenges to the economic cooperation between China and Germany, both world trade powers.

In this era full of variables and uncertainties, maintaining the stability and predictability of international relations is the greatest concern of the economic circles of all countries, which also applies to China Germany relations. I have noticed that for some time, the German political, economic and think tank media have been debating about the future China policy and economic and trade relations with China. Frankly speaking, how to take the road of China Germany cooperation in the era of great changes, and how to deal with various risks and challenges, are the same issues that I am thinking about every day as a Chinese ambassador. Although we cannot predict the future, we can find inspiration, understand the law and grasp the direction from the past. History has always been the best textbook.

In October this year, China and Germany will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. Looking back on the course of China Germany relations over the past half century, we can say with pride that the two sides have written a success story of common development and mutual achievements. Over the past 50 years, China and Germany have transcended ideological differences in open exchanges and established more than 70 dialogue mechanisms, including government consultations. The leaders of China and Germany have maintained close exchanges and bilateral relations have maintained a high level of operation. The bilateral trade volume increased from less than US $300million in 1972 at the beginning of the establishment of diplomatic relations to more than US $250billion last year. China has become Germany’s largest trading partner in the world for six consecutive years. The scale and level of China Germany cooperation today is fundamentally due to the mutually beneficial and win-win nature of bilateral cooperation. Both sides have also benefited from it. Exports to China have created nearly one million jobs for Germany, and German enterprises’ investment in China has also contributed to China’s economic development.

The 50 years of China Germany relations have inspired us that dialogue, exchange and strengthening cooperation are the right path of China Germany relations, and mutual respect and win-win cooperation are the most valuable experience of China Germany cooperation. Although the times have changed and the differences in history, culture, political system and development level between the two countries objectively exist, there is no conflict of fundamental interests between the two sides, and common interests far outweigh differences. China’s rapid development objectively makes Germany feel competitive pressure, but the characteristics of complementary advantages of China Germany cooperation have not changed, the nature of mutual benefit and win-win results has not changed, and the future cooperation prospects are still broad. The two sides have great potential for cooperation in advanced manufacturing, service trade, digital economy, energy transformation, new energy vehicles, health and other fields. There is also room for strengthening cooperation in anti epidemic, promoting post epidemic economic recovery, coping with climate change and green governance. As long as the two sides firmly grasp the main tone of dialogue and cooperation, adhere to the principle of seeking common ground while reserving differences, mutual benefit and win-win results, China Germany relations will remain stable and far-reaching in the changing era.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Over the years, the business circles of the two countries have always been supporters and pioneers of China Germany cooperation. Germany is the EU country with the largest amount of investment and projects in China, and more than 5000 German enterprises are developing in China. Since 2010, Germany has increasingly become a popular destination for Chinese enterprises to invest in Europe. At present, more than 2000 enterprises have invested in Germany. At present, China is the largest or second largest export destination of Germany’s pillar industries, such as electronics and electrical, automobile, machinery manufacturing, etc., and 16% of the global turnover of the top 40 DAX enterprises is generated in the Chinese market. It can be said that with the joint efforts of the business circles of the two countries, the economies of China and Germany have been deeply integrated and have brought tangible benefits to the enterprises and people of the two countries.

It is undeniable that flowers and applause are not always on the way to China Germany cooperation. In recent years, some people in Europe and Germany have changed their perceptions of China, began to emphasize more on the competitive and divergent aspects of relations with China, and questioned or even denied cooperation with China. I believe you are no stranger to the triple positioning of “partners, competitors and institutional opponents”, which is “fashionable” now. Frankly speaking, this contradictory cognition and even policy on China launched in 2019 has caused people confusion and even confusion, bringing a lot of uncertainty to bilateral exchanges and cooperation. If it is not adjusted, it will undoubtedly create more anxiety and anxiety.

China understands Europe’s reasonable concern to safeguard its economic and technological competitive advantage, which is understandable in itself. However, China’s right to development, including that of high-tech enterprises, should also be fully respected. Under the condition of market economy, competition is an important driving force to ensure market vitality and innovation power. Competition is not terrible. The key is to treat it rationally and correctly. Although China is moving towards the high end of the industrial chain in some fields, most fields are still at the middle and low end of the industrial chain, and the cooperation between the two sides is still very complementary. China Germany and China EU cooperation can not only improve themselves, but also illuminate each other, and achieve 1+1>2. Technology blockade or using improper means to suppress competitors like individual countries are not the right way to deal with competition.

Some people often talk about “institutional competition” and ask the new German federal government to re-examine and change the previous governments’ cooperation policies with China on the grounds of the failure of the “trade for change” policy. There are no two identical leaves in the world. We can accept that everyone should have freedom of religious belief. Why can’t different countries choose different systems and development paths according to their own national conditions? State to state exchanges are like getting along with others. To transcend differences and differences and forge consensus on cooperation, we should accept each other’s differences with an open and inclusive attitude and respect each other’s choices, rather than forcing each other to accept their own choices or trying to change each other. In this sense, “trade for change” has set the wrong goal from the beginning, but trade and economic cooperation can better connect countries with different systems and cultures, so that they can better understand and approach each other. This positive significance should not be obliterated.

Ladies and gentlemen,

Whether China Germany economic cooperation is mutual achievement and common growth, or a zero sum game, you lose and I win, it is very important for us to discuss how to cooperate in the future. I fully understand the concerns of German entrepreneurs about the stability of the supply chain and geopolitics endangering economic security against the background of the epidemic and the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. The Chinese economic community also has the same concerns. Especially when we see that some countries are prone to wield economic sanctions, provoke trade wars, tariff wars, and even weaponize globalization. Obviously, Chinese enterprises have suffered more harm than German enterprises in this regard. However, if they deny economic globalization and even take the initiative to engage in mutual economic decoupling, it will cause greater harm to the world and domestic economy to throw out the children together with the bath water, as the German saying goes. Therefore, I believe that the so-called economic dependence on China should not be exaggerated, let alone used as a reason for decoupling.

As the two major economies in the world, the close economic ties between China and Germany are the epitome of economic globalization. The industrial chains of the two sides have changed from “complementarity” to “mutual integration”, which is the result of market laws and business decisions, and also the result of international division of labor in the context of globalization. If there is economic dependence, this dependence is not a one-way street. German enterprises need China’s huge market, and Chinese enterprises also need cooperation with Europe and Germany. Just like the conclusion that countries with the same values are safer to cooperate, the theory of excessive dependence on China itself is a false proposition. I can hardly imagine that German enterprises will only do business with countries with the same Western system. In that case, Germany can only cooperate with about 40 countries, while there are nearly 200 countries in the world.

At the annual meeting of the world economic forum in Davos not long ago, your prime minister Scholz said that “de globalization is a wrong path”. It is neither wise nor realistic for those who violate economic laws to decouple artificially. A decoupled world will only become more unstable and will not bring peace and prosperity to Europe and Germany. Unfortunately, many think tanks and media in Germany still seem to be keen to hype the so-called threat of cooperation with China, and even encourage blockade and decoupling from China in more fields such as scientific research and education. I don’t know what forces are behind this, but I hope German business friends can have more rational and in-depth thinking on this issue, and what benefits can Germany and Europe bring to their own by artificially setting obstacles to bilateral exchanges and cooperation and promoting decoupling? A German entrepreneur once told me that to choose to decouple from China is to choose to decouple from economic growth and technological progress. His answer made me still full of confidence in the prospects of China Germany economic cooperation. I would like to respond that China will be a reliable partner.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As the largest economies at both ends of the Eurasian continent, deepening mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Germany will not only achieve their own development, but also bring more stability to the world. The practice of reform and opening up for more than 40 years shows that China’s economic development in the past was achieved under the conditions of opening up. In the future, China’s economy must achieve high-quality development under more open conditions. The improvement of China’s competitiveness does not mean that we no longer need foreign investment and technology. China’s future development is still inseparable from international cooperation. No matter how the world situation evolves, China will not close its door to the outside world. The dual cycle development pattern is by no means self closing or so-called active decoupling. China will continue to unswervingly integrate into the world economy.

Here, I would like to specifically mention the epidemic prevention and control in China, because I know that the German business community is very concerned about this. In this regard, I would like to point out that China’s adoption of strict epidemic prevention measures is based on its national conditions. However, the “dynamic zeroing” is not to pursue zero infection, but to control the epidemic situation in the shortest time at the lowest social cost, so as to maximize the protection of people’s life and health and normal production and living order. At present, the epidemic situation in Shanghai and other places has been well controlled. The impact of the epidemic will not change the fundamentals of China’s economy, nor will China move towards self isolation. After the outbreak, China will be more open.

I think this is China’s most authoritative response to China Germany relations and bilateral economic cooperation under the changing situation. We hope and expect that the new German government will continue to uphold a rational, pragmatic and independent policy towards China, work with China to push China Germany relations to a new level, and continue to write the story of successful cooperation since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Germany.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As major countries in trade and manufacturing, China and Germany depend on a peaceful, stable, open and cooperative world for their respective development and people’s well-being. It is distressing that Europe has rekindled war. This crisis has further impacted on the stability of global finance, energy, transportation and supply chain, making the world economy even worse under the epidemic. The more difficult and complex the situation, the more the world needs dialogue and cooperation. The world needs more bridge builders than wall builders. “The turning point of the times” cannot mean a historical retrogression. It is in the common interests of China, Germany and China and the EU to avoid letting the iron curtain fall again in Europe, to prevent the world from returning to confrontation and to prevent the process of globalization from being reversed. Let us look at each other’s cultural and institutional differences with a more open and diverse mind, look at competition from a positive and rational perspective, put aside ideological prejudice and disputes, and jointly contribute wisdom and capacity to addressing global challenges such as climate change and promoting international cooperation and mutual understanding. This is the right direction for future cooperation between China, Germany and China EU.

Thank you!

More information

Relevant information recommendation