FILE PHOTO: A worker wears a protective mask at the Volkswagen assembly line after VW re-starts Europe’s largest car factory after coronavirus shutdown in Wolfsburg, Germany, April 27, 2020, as the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues. Swen Pfoertner/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
May 21, 2020
BERLIN (Reuters) – German exporters are regaining momentum in their trade with China, epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak, Martin Wansleben, managing director of Germany’s DIHK chambers of industry and commerce, told Reuters on Thursday.
German manufacturers depend on both demand and supply chains from China, their country’s biggest trading partner.
“In China, the economic trough seems to have bottomed out,” Wansleben said, adding that “70 to 80% of German companies are able to produce and deliver again in the Middle Kingdom”.
Wansleben called for progress in talks on an investment agreement between China and the EU – likely to be an important item on the agenda when Germany holds the rotating European Union presidency in the second half of this year.
“After rather minor progress in the last rounds of negotiations, German business is finally hoping for ambitious offers from China,” Wansleben said.
Negotiations on an investment agreement have been underway for six years and should be concluded in 2020.
German companies want better market access in China and more legal certainty for investment. They also complain that the government in Beijing distorts competition with high subsidies.
“The EU should take a united and determined stance here in order to limit market intervention and push ahead with market opening, especially in public procurement,” Wansleben said.
(Reporting by Christian Kraemer; Writing by Paul Carrel; Editing by Giles Elgood)