Lin Songtian, president of the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, said since the establishment of diplomatic ties 50 years ago, bilateral trade between China and Germany has increased by more than 800 times. He was addressing a China-German forum on cities and provinces partnership on Wednesday.
China has been Germany’s largest trading partner for six consecutive years and a major source of German overseas investment and tourists, while Germany has the largest direct investment in China among the European Union member states, Lin said.
He cited sales of major German carmakers BMW, Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz in the Chinese market accounted for nearly 40 percent of their total global sales last year. Chinese enterprises, such as power train manufacturer Weichai Power and construction machinery giant Sany Heavy Industry, have also increasingly invested in Germany.
Moreover, China-Europe freight trains, with Hamburg and Duisburg in Germany as important stops, have reached 180 cities in China and 23 European countries with more than 1,000 train trips each month. It facilitates connectivity between cities in Asia and Europe and greatly boosts trade and investment between China and Europe, bringing more opportunities for cooperation and development among cities involved in the Belt and Road Initiative.
He also said China has become the world’s largest investment destination and second-largest consumer market, and is an important trading partner of the EU and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations.
Lin said the development interests of China and Germany are deeply integrated. It serves the common interests of the two peoples to maintain and develop sound and stable bilateral relations and firmly safeguard their respective strategic independence.
It is also abundantly clear that as long as the East and the West respect each other, seek common ground while putting aside differences, and pursue equality and mutual benefit, they can coexist in peace, cooperate for win-win results and achieve common development, he added.
Melanie Huml, Bavaria’s state minister for European and International Affairs, said China has been an important trade partner for Bavaria and many Chinese companies have invested in the state.
Working with China could provide Bavaria with good opportunities for development, including tackling climate change and jointly developing advanced technologies. As Bavaria has already issued a new energy development strategy, Huml said she is looking forward to working with China to boost the state’s new energy transformation, which is considered urgent for Bavaria.