|Towards Brighter Prospects For China-Germany Friendship and Cooperation|
Hannover, 23 April 2012
Honorable Chancellor Angela Merkel,
I am delighted to join so many friends from Chinese and German business communities here in discussing issues important to the business cooperation between our two countries. Let me begin by extending warm congratulations on the opening of the summit and paying tribute to people from all sectors who have worked hard to promote China-Germany friendship and cooperation.
This year marks the 40th anniversary of China-Germany diplomatic relations, a memorable event in its own right. For years, shadow of the Cold War darkening the world had blocked the normal contacts between our two countries, forcing us to make contact through a third party and our personnel to visit each other through Hong Kong. People today cannot possibly imagine how difficult it was to conduct trade and economic cooperation back then. In 1972, leaders of the two countries, in keeping with the trend of times and wishes of the people, decided to surmount the Cold War and numerous obstacles and open the long-sealed door of bilateral relations, building a bridge towards China-Germany friendship and cooperation.
Thanks to our joint efforts over the past 40 years, China-Germany relations have stood the test of changing international landscape, maintained a smooth development on the whole and moved gradually into a track of mature, sound and steady growth. China-Germany cooperation today is most extensive, most dynamic and most fruitful.
On the political front, the two countries have maintained frequent exchanges of high-level visits and deepened political mutual trust. In 2010, we elevated our relationship to a strategic partnership. Last June, I attended the first round of China-Germany governmental consultations in Germany with more than ten cabinet ministers. That mechanism is the first of its kind established by China with foreign countries at government level and indeed a milestone in the history of China-Germany relations.
On the economic front, China and Germany are each other's important partners. Our cooperation leads China's cooperation with the EU as a whole in both scope and depth. In the early days of diplomatic ties, bilateral trade was merely US$270 million. But in 2011, China-Germany trade reached US$169.1 billion, making up 30% of China-EU trade. Germany has set up over 7,500 enterprises in China with an accumulative investment of US$18.5 billion. Germany is China's largest source of technology in Europe, with a value of more than US$50 billion.
In the area of cultural and people-to-people exchanges, bilateral cooperation in science and technology, education, culture, tourism and other fields has yielded fruitful results. Germany is one of the top sources of long-distance tourists for China and the first approved destination in the EU for Chinese tourists. Over one million visits were exchanged between our two countries in 2011. We have set up 69 pairs of sister cities and over 500 universities have launched intercollegiate contacts.
In international affairs, China and Germany have coordinated positions and supported each other through close communication and cooperation. Our cooperation in addressing such global challenges as international financial crisis, climate change, terrorism and poverty has been remarkably effective, serving the common interests of both countries and the world as a whole.
We have learned from the 40 years of China-Germany diplomatic relations a profound truth that the foundation of a stable state-to-state relationship lies with mutual trust. The greater the mutual trust, the broader the scope for cooperation. As long as we view each other in a positive light, firmly believe that we are friends instead of rivals and we are each other's opportunities instead of challenges, and keep pursuing mutual benefit and equal consultation, our cooperation that is underpinned by the complementarity of our comparative advantages will continue to deepen, our cooperation that is supported by our common interests will make steady headway, and China-Germany friendship will keep surging forward like the Yangtze River and the Rhine.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the face of a complex and fluid international situation, China and Germany have seen an increase in both their common interests and common responsibilities. Stronger China-Germany mutually beneficial cooperation is good for the two countries, good for China-EU relations, and good for world prosperity and stability. The strategic dimension of China-Germany relations, therefore, can only be strengthened, not weakened.
We are pleased to note that the key projects agreed in the first round of China-Germany governmental consultations have been implemented step by step. The Sino-German Ecopark was launched in Qingdao. The Strategic Cooperation Platform for Electric Mobility was completed. The Industrial Standards Information Portal was established. The Life Sciences Innovation Platform was set up. The demonstration centers for vocational education cooperation were put in place. And cooperation on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has made steady progress. We should cherish these hard-won fruits of cooperation, and take an even more proactive approach so as to raise our practical cooperation to a higher level, with increased scale and scope. To this end, I suggest we step up efforts in the following areas:
First, we need to expand two-way trade. We need to open our markets still wider, resist trade protectionism and strive to bring the two-way trade to US$280 billion by 2015. China places equal importance on import and export, works hard to provide a level playing field in its government procurement system and treats companies of all types as equals. China is willing to import more German products and hopes that Germany will vigorously urge the EU to relax its restrictions on hi-tech exports to China.
Second, we need to promote mutual investment. China's advantages of vast market and rich labor resources, if combined with Germany's advantages of sophisticated technologies and managerial expertise, will make both sides more competitive. We should take practical steps to promote investment and remove investment barriers. We welcome more investment from German enterprises in China's high and new-tech sectors, the service sector, and in China's central and western regions. We hope that companies from both sides will continue their investment cooperation in such traditional areas as auto making, chemicals and machinery, and extend their cooperation gradually to such areas as high-end manufacturing, marine and polar research, aviation and aerospace. Germany has rich experience of SMEs development that China can draw upon. The Chinese government is willing to facilitate cooperation between the SMEs of the two countries in the areas of financing, information and administrative services. China is committed to strictly protecting the intellectual property rights of all enterprises and to following market rules and the principle of voluntariness in terms of technology transfer.
Third, we need to enlarge environmental cooperation. There is a great deal the two countries can do together in standards formulation on energy conservation and environmental protection, new energy technologies, demonstration projects of building energy efficiency and eco-city planning. As a project of shared interests carefully developed by the two sides, the Sino-German Ecopark will showcase advanced German concepts, technologies and products in energy conservation and environmental protection, and play an exemplary role for bilateral cooperation in this field. We welcome investment by competitive German enterprises in the project. We hope that the joint venture of the Ecopark can be established quickly to promote fresh progress in the Ecopark development.
Fourth, we need to enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges. Both China and Germany have time-honored and splendid civilizations, which provides an enduring drive for our cultural exchanges and mutual learning. We should create conditions for closer exchanges between the two peoples, particularly the young people, so as to enhance their sense of togetherness. China supports such youth events as the "Chinese Culture Year" and "Exchange Campus-Future Bridge", encourages more universities of ours to reach out to one another and welcomes more young Germans to study in China.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
China and Germany have gone through 40 extraordinary years together, leaving behind footprints we can all be proud of. Looking ahead, we will stand together with even greater commitment as we strive to set a worthy example for North-South dialogue and common development. I am convinced that business people with vision and enterprising spirit from both countries will seize the opportunity, ride the tide and endeavor to write a new page in our strategic partnership and blaze a successful trail of win-win cooperation between major countries.