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Work in Partnership for Common Development
2011-06-29 14:08

Address by H.E. Wen Jiabao
Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
At the Sixth Chinese-German Forum
For Economic and Technological Cooperation

Berlin, 28 June 2011

Chancellor Angela Merkel,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted to attend the Chinese-German Forum for Economic and Technological Cooperation. This Forum, as an important platform for enhancing exchanges and cooperation between the business communities of the two countries, has contributed much to promoting business relations between China and Germany. I wish to extend warm congratulations on the opening of the Forum and pay high tribute to all of you for working so hard over the years to foster friendship between China and Germany.

I have paid several visits to Germany since taking office as the Chinese premier, and each visit left a deep impression on me. The Germans are a great people noted for their discipline, dedication to hard work, intellectual excellence and rigorous reasoning. Germany has produced many towering figures who, with extraordinary vision and creativity, made great contribution to the advance of human civilization.

The Chinese and Germans have a long history of friendly exchanges. The establishment of diplomatic ties ushered China-Germany relationship in a new historical period. During my visit to Germany in 2004, the two countries announced the launching of the China-Germany partnership with global responsibility within the framework of the China-EU comprehensive strategic partnership. In 2010, we signed the Chinese-German Joint Communiqué on Comprehensively Promoting Strategic Partnership and agreed to establish a governmental consultation mechanism between China and Germany. Close business ties are a pillar of China-Germany relations. Thanks to joint efforts of the business communities of the two countries, our business relations have flourished, bringing great benefits to our two peoples.

China and Germany are close business partners. Last year, the two-way trade exceeded US$140 billion, accounting for close to one third of China's trade with the EU. Over 7,000 German companies have been set up in China, with paid-in investment exceeding US$17 billion, the highest among EU countries. With over 15,000 contracts for technology transfer to China worth over US$50 billion, Germany is the largest source of China's technology import from Europe. China and Germany have also maintained close communication and coordinated actions in fighting the international financial crisis, thus contributing to the global economic recovery.

The Chinese and German economies are highly complementary, and both have maintained sound growth. It is therefore fully possible for our business relations to enter a new stage of growth. The reason that I have brought with me a big government delegation and a large business delegation is to deepen our practical cooperation in all fields. We not only hope to sign more business agreements with German companies, but also hope to establish a governmental mechanism for consultation and coordination with Germany to institutionalize our consultations. To build stronger China-Germany business ties, we need to redouble efforts in the following areas:

– We should expand trade. We need to fully tap into the potential for greater trade and take more trade facilitation measures. Our goal is to double the current trade volume in five years. China is ready to import more competitive German products, and we hope that Germany will recognize China's full market economy status at an early date to remove this obstacle to the growth of bilateral trade. China is committed to establishing an open government procurement system and treats all companies equally. In international bidding for mechanical and electric products conducted by China in 2010, the value of contracts won by German companies was the highest. China is applying to join the WTO Agreement on Government Procurement. We hope that the relevant WTO members will adopt a flexible and pragmatic approach and make less demand on China. This will enable China to join this agreement at an early date.

– We should encourage two-way investment. More German companies are welcome to make investment in China. We hope to speedily conclude negotiations on a model joint-venture contract with Germany and establish a China-Germany investment hotline to help solve problems our companies may encounter. We will open more service sectors. Here, I wish to reiterate that all foreign companies registered in China in accordance with the law receive national treatment; and the intellectual property rights of all companies will be effectively protected. We also hope that the German government will take active and effective steps to support Chinese companies in making investment in Germany.

– We should strengthen technological exchanges and cooperation. The technological strengths of German companies, once combined with China's strengths in labor resources and market, will both help promote China's economic structural adjustment and industrial upgrading and make German companies and products more competitive in the world market. So this will produce a win-win outcome. China is ready to enhance technological cooperation with Germany in advanced equipment manufacturing, transportation, energy, petrochemicals and fine chemicals, new materials, bio-medicine and aerospace. We want to enhance technological exchanges through the launching of major business projects, but will not make technology transfer a mandatory requirement. The EU's export control vis-à-vis China has restricted German export of high- and new-tech products to China and greatly undermined the competitiveness of German companies in the Chinese market. We hope that Germany will urge the EU to relax such export control and increase the share of high- and new-tech products in its trade with China.

– We should expand cooperation on new energy, energy conservation and environmental protection. China and Germany have much to benefit from cooperation in developing renewable energy and improving energy efficiency. The two countries signed a cooperative agreement on building an eco-park last year, and the first Chinese-German Eco-Park is expected to be built in Qingdao. We hope German companies will actively participate in its planning and construction. We will give full play to the pace-setting role of bilateral financial cooperation and use such funding to mainly support cooperation in energy conservation, emission reduction, green credit and addressing climate change. We also hope that Chinese and German companies will make substantive progress in cooperation in new energy based transportation, building efficiency and low-carbon eco-city development.

– We should increase cooperation between small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). China not only pursues cooperation with large German transnational companies, but also encourages cooperation between Chinese and German SMEs. China has decided to set up a two billion euro special loan to support such cooperation. We will leverage the respective strengths of Chinese and German SMEs in capital, technology, R&D, human resources and market to promote common development.

– We should boost people-to-people exchanges. Such exchanges will not only promote bilateral economic cooperation and trade. More importantly, they will enhance friendship between our peoples. China proposes to set up a "Chinese-German vocational education alliance" involving the government, companies and academic institutions to be based in the China-Germany demonstration center for vocational education. We propose that cooperation in life science be pursued on a priority basis. To this end, joint efforts should be made to create a platform to promote cooperation between Chinese and German R&D institutions and companies. China is ready to enhance cooperation with Germany on hospital management and draw on German experience to improve the overall management of Chinese hospitals.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Being a key EU country, Germany plays an important role in enhancing EU friendship and cooperation with China. The sound China-EU relationship today owes much to efforts made by Germany.

China places great importance on growing its relations with the EU. Ever since the establishment of China's diplomatic ties with the EU, relations with the EU have always occupied a strategic place in China's overall external relations, and China has remained committed to building win-win partnership with the EU. The world is going through profound political and economic changes. But the strategic importance China attaches to its relations with the EU will not change, its policy to promote mutually-beneficial cooperation with the EU will not change, and its abiding commitment to long-term friendship with the EU will not change.

Politically, there are neither conflicts of fundamental interests nor outstanding issues left from the past between China and the EU. This is an important basis for fostering China-EU friendship and cooperation. Both supporting a multi-polar world, economic globalization and diversity of civilizations, China and the EU are important strategic forces for promoting global peace and development. China and the EU share extensive common interests in tackling climate change, fighting terrorism, eradicating poverty and addressing other global issues. Mutual support and cooperation between China and the EU benefit not only both sides, but the whole world.

Economically, China and the EU are at different stages of development, with much to offer each other. The growing China-EU relations thus serve the interests of both sides. The EU may provide China with advanced technology, equipment, managerial expertise and quality products. And China has a huge market for European capital, goods, technologies and patents. Yes, there is competition between China and the EU, but our cooperation has a very broad prospect.

In terms of culture, both the Chinese and European cultures are profoundly enriching and have distinctive features, and there is a lot we can learn from each other. As products of multi-ethnic and multi-cultural exchanges and integration, both the Chinese and European civilizations are open and inclusive, and both have been enriched by mutual exchanges in past centuries. The introduction of the Chinese culture created inspiration for the Enlightenment in Europe, and the introduction of European culture impacted positively on the Chinese and other Oriental civilizations. As a Chinese saying puts it, "There is no limit to the height of mountains and the depth of the sea." The Chinese and European civilizations should continue to draw on each other's strengths through exchanges.

In terms of the respective place of China and Europe in the world, both are important and rising forces, and enhancing China-Europe cooperation carries strategic significance. The EU is the largest group of developed countries and an independent pole of the world. With the entry into force of the Lisbon Treaty, the EU will continue to grow in strength. The economic difficulties facing some EU members are temporary in nature. The EU, with strong real economy, great strength in science and technology and a large pool of talents, is fully capable of meeting such challenges. We have every confidence in EU's future.

Owing to differences in history, culture, social system and stage of development, China and Europe have differences in some areas. This is something natural. What is important is to view China, the EU and China-Europe relations from a positive, long-term and overall perspective. To build a mature, stable and healthy China-Europe relationship, we should adhere to the following principles:

Mutual respect. Given their differences in social system, cultural background and history, it is particularly important for China and Europe to respect each other. Only with mutual respect can we rise above differences in ideology, political system and development model and build an equal partnership. China respects the choice of political system and development model made by the people of EU members. Similarly, we hope that the EU will respect China's sovereignty, territorial integrity and Chinese people's independent choice, and work with us to sustain the sound growth of China-Europe relations.

Mutual trust. Many problems between China and Europe result from lack of mutual understanding and trust. We hope that the EU will truly appreciate that China's development is an opportunity rather than a challenge to EU members. Only with such a firm belief can we lay a stronger foundation of mutual trust. China asks the EU to lift arms embargo against China and recognize China's market economy status. In essence, this is an issue of whether there is mutual trust. We hope the EU will make the right political decision at an early date.

Consultation on an equal basis. China and Europe do not agree on everything. But if we engage in consultation on an equal basis and seek common ground while putting aside differences, the problems between us are not difficult to resolve. There are over 230 dialogue and consultation mechanisms between China and the EU, which can well manage the problems in our cooperation. As to problems that cannot be resolved for the time being, we should find ways to address them over time.

Mutual benefit. The problems in China-Europe relations have occurred in the course of growth and progress. As long as we deepen mutually-beneficial cooperation in all areas, expand common interests and further enrich and strengthen our comprehensive strategic partnership, we will be able to settle these problems and create win-win outcomes.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Next year will be the 40th year of China-Germany diplomatic ties. We Chinese have a saying, "At the age of 40, one has no doubts about the world." And that is exactly how I feel about China-Germany relations. These relations have matured. To strengthen these relations is good for both our nations, good for the EU, and good for the rest of the world. The German Enlightenment thinker Gottfried Leibnitz observed in the Novissima Sinica that "The two sides both have the abilities they could usefully share with each other". Mr. Deng Xiaoping also said that "Europe and Asia are actually one continent. You are in the west, we are in the east. And we are connected by far more factors than people realize." Let us keep on pursuing mutual benefit with unshakeable commitment and confidence and work hard to till the fertile land of China-Europe friendship. I am convinced that the seeds of friendship we have sown together will grow into giant trees, and our win-win cooperation will bear rich fruit.

Thank you.

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