Germany, China to double trade

7th December 2004, Comments 0 comments

7 December 2004 , BEIJING - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Tuesday met Chinese President Hu Jintao, as part of a three-day visit focused on building economic ties, with the two sides planning to double trade over the next six years. "It is unavoidable that the economic relations are the priority, but we have a far greater width in our relations than what is sometimes mentioned," Schroeder said before closed talks with Hu. Schroeder made a speech to a business forum and was scheduled to travel to th

7 December 2004

BEIJING - German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder on Tuesday met Chinese President Hu Jintao, as part of a three-day visit focused on building economic ties, with the two sides planning to double trade over the next six years.

"It is unavoidable that the economic relations are the priority, but we have a far greater width in our relations than what is sometimes mentioned," Schroeder said before closed talks with Hu.

Schroeder made a speech to a business forum and was scheduled to travel to the northeastern city of Changchun to open a Volkswagen joint venture plant designed to produce 33,000 cars annually.

In his speech, he said the two sides aimed to double bilateral trade value by 2010.

Schroeder also presented the European SME Award 2004 to China's former premier Zhu Rongji, hailing him for advancing the free market reform during his term and creating "the basic conditions for the structure of the middle class".

The award given by the Brussels-based Union of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises is endowed with 100,000 dollars (EUR 74,000) which Zhu donated to his alma mater Qinghua University.

Schroeder met Wu Bangguo, the official number two in China's ruling Communist Party, earlier on Tuesday.

On Monday, Schroeder and Premier Wen Jiabao attended the signing of 22 economic and political agreements said be worth some EUR 1.4 billion. The largest deal was an agreement for China to buy 23 Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft.

Despite criticism from rights groups and factions within Germany's ruling coalition, Schroeder voiced his support for lifting an EU arms embargo which was imposed after the 1989 military crackdown on pro-democracy protesters in Beijing's Tiananmen Square.

"I hope that the summit between the EU and China that takes place on Wednesday (in The Hague) will give an important signal in this direction," he said after talks with Wen.

Wen, who is expected to repeat China's call to lift the embargo in The Hague, called it a "product of the Cold War".

Wen said China backed a German role in an expanded United Nations Security Council. "China believes that Germany should play a bigger role in the Security Council, whether it is because of its economic power or its political situation," he said.

Leaders of some 40 German businesses are travelling with Schroeder in China, with Siemens signing a contract to produce 180 railway locomotives worth EUR 360 million.

Schroeder is making his sixth trip to China since 1998, accompanied by Transport Minister Manfred Stolpe and Interior Minister Otto Schily.

China is Germany's biggest Asian trading partner. German exports to China rose 25 percent to EUR 18.2 billion last year, while imports from China rose 17 percent to EUR 25 billion.

DPA

Subject: German news

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