Germany's Merkel urges China to open up markets
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday prodded China to ease access to its markets as the leaders of the world's top two exporting nations held talks in Beijing focused on trade.
After meeting Premier Wen Jiabao, Merkel told reporters that she had emphasised German wishes for greater openness in the world's third-largest economy.
"Chinese companies, like those of many other countries, enjoy very good access to the German market. We hope that German enterprises can enjoy the same access to the Chinese market," she said.
Trade between the two countries has grown rapidly to 91 billion dollars last year, up from 41 billion dollars in 2001, according to Chinese data.
However, in the past few years, the trade balance has tipped decisively in China's favour, with Chinese exports to Germany totalling 55 billion dollars last year, while trade in the other direction amounted to 36 billion dollars.
"Neither Germany nor China pursues a trade imbalance," Wen said during a joint press conference after their talks.
"We hope that trade can be balanced and orderly."
The two sides signed several agreements covering trade, energy, and culture.
They included an agreement between Shanghai Electric Group of China and Siemens AG on research and development of steam and gas turbines worth 3.5 billion dollars, according to Chinese state media.
Foton Motor of China and Daimler-Benz AG also sealed a deal on a joint venture to make trucks.
Merkel was to meet with President Hu Jintao later in the day.
© 2010 AFP