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What did China's premier say in his foreign visit
Li Qiang called on German businesses not to de-risk from China.
Chinese Premier Li Qiang just concluded his first foreign visit to Germany, where he made a public speech on June 20 afternoon to the 11th China-Germany Economic and Technical Cooperation Forum (Deutsch-Chinesischem Forum für wirtschaftliche und technologische Zusammenarbeit).
In the speech, he talked about de-risking, the buzzword in Europe (and later the United States). The Chinese government hasn’t published his full speech but there is a video recording of his speech online via ARD the German broadcasting network. We transcribed his Chinese speech and put it into English.
There is a German voiceover - simultaneous translation - that made some of his Chinese words inaudible but we did our best.
Chancellor Scholz, Vice Chancellor Habeck, ladies and gentlemen, good afternoon.
It is a great pleasure to gather here in Berlin for the 11th China-Germany Economic and Technical Cooperation Forum. Under the theme of "Joining Hands for Green Development," the shared aspiration of both China and Germany to deepen practical cooperation and promote sustainable development is highlighted. First of all, on behalf of the Chinese government, I would like to express my heartfelt thanks and sincere greetings to all the distinguished guests and friends present here. I would also like to extend warm congratulations on the achievements of this forum.
Earlier, Chancellor Scholz and I jointly attended the first consultation between the new governments of the two countries. We agreed that we should respond to the expectations of businesses and people, and promote practical cooperation to achieve higher levels of partnership. From the perspective of China-Germany economic and technical cooperation, I believe that in today's international exchanges, it provides valuable insights. Here, I would like to share three points:
First, openness and cooperation is the righteous path that we should adhere to in today's era. Looking back at thousands of years of human civilization, regions that have been active in opening up and cooperation have generally witnessed prosperity, stability, and development. Taking China as an example, the Han and Tang dynasties were among the most prosperous periods in Chinese history. A key reason for this was the prosperity brought by the Silk Road, which strengthened friendly exchanges between China and countries along the Silk Road, fostering closer trade cooperation and technological exchanges. At the same time, it was through the Silk Road that China's Four Great Inventions and other technologies were spread to various countries in Europe and Asia, greatly assisting the economic and social development of the time and the region.
Today's world is far from peaceful, with various conflicts and uncertainties becoming the norm. We are facing numerous global challenges. If we look at the present from the future with a historical perspective and ask ourselves what should be done amidst these turbulent intersections, I believe that strengthening cooperation will always be the best option. Instead of arguing about ten different issues, it is better to work together to solve one single problem. Strengthening cooperation is a path of mutual benefit and win-win outcomes. It is also an important task that we should wholeheartedly pursue, especially by regarding economic and technological cooperation as a cornerstone of our international cooperation, grasping the trend of economic globalization, steadfastly supporting free trade, and promoting common prosperity and development for all humankind. The achievements and experiences of China-Germany economic and technical cooperation are invaluable.
China and Germany have established diplomatic relations for 51 years now, and the two countries have engaged in extensive and deep friendly cooperation, especially the economic and technological cooperation between China and Germany has been the most active and proactive, gradually forming a new pattern of comprehensive and multi-field collaboration.
In terms of cooperation scale, our bilateral trade has grown rapidly, with China becoming Germany's largest trading partner for seven consecutive years, and Germany maintaining its position as China's largest trading partner in Europe for 48 consecutive years. Currently, there are over 6,000 German-funded enterprises in China, and we have over 2,000 Chinese-funded enterprises in Germany, although the exact number is not fully accounted for.
In terms of cooperation areas, we have surpassed the previous focus on trade and expanded our collaboration to various fields, including finance, technology, environmental protection, energy, and culture. We have established numerous dialogue and cooperation mechanisms, reaching nearly 70, and fostered 104 pairs of friendly and loyal relationships. I mentioned to Chancellor Scholz yesterday and today that when I was the Communist Party of China Secretary of Shanghai, he was the Mayor of Hamburg, and our two cities have maintained a long-term friendly relationship, with extensive interactions and mutual benefits from each other's development.
Overall, the friendly cooperation between the two sides has effectively served the economic and social development of both countries, enhanced the well-being of their peoples, and become an important force for world peace, stability, and prosperity. The key to achieving the current achievements in China-Germany cooperation lies in our mutual respect, seeking common ground while shelving differences, accommodating minor divergences in pursuit of common goals, and turning differences into commonalities for mutual benefit and win-win outcomes. We value pragmatism and innovation in our cooperation, which embodies the spirit of our partnership and needs to be upheld in China-Germany economic and technological cooperation in the long term. The cooperation between China and Germany also holds significant reference value for other countries in their international exchanges and collaborations.
The third point I would like to address is that, while fully demonstrating and leading friendly cooperation between China and Germany, we find ourselves at a crossroads in history amidst the intersecting uncertainties of the current global situation. Regardless of how the international situation changes, China will remain firm in its commitment to the fundamental national policy of opening up, implement an open strategy of mutual benefit and win-win outcomes, and steadfastly advance high-level opening-up. China and Germany have strong complementarity in economic and technical development, and China's high-quality development will provide broad space and favorable opportunities for the development of German and global enterprises. It is our responsibility to deepen economic and technological cooperation between China and Germany, demonstrate and lead mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Europe, and contribute to global development by injecting more certainty into this world full of uncertainty and instability.
Recently, "decoupling" has become a buzzword in certain parts of the world. While we don't need to dwell on the concept of "decoupling" anymore, a new term has emerged: "de-risking." It is indeed reasonable to focus on risk management in investment and business activities. However, if the pursuit of "de-risking" leads to the implementation of actual decoupling measures and discriminatory actions against specific countries, it would violate the principles of market economy and fair competition, as well as the rules of the World Trade Organization. Such actions are detrimental rather than beneficial to maintaining international industrial chains and promoting the healthy development of the global economy.
I would like to share an example here. During the early stages of China's reform and opening up, Germany was China's most important partner in automobile production. German car companies dominated the Chinese market and, in some ways, could be said to have had a monopoly in some places. When I was working in the local government for a long time, the official vehicles provided to us were German cars. From Santana to entry-level Audi models, and later to higher-grade Audis, during my five years of work in Shanghai, we had Volkswagen cars produced through the joint venture between SAIC and Volkswagen. I did not perceive any risks associated with this. When we go to hospitals for CT scans or MRI examinations, we trust Siemens equipment, and we feel safe lying in them. We believe that these should not be considered as risks. China has never pursued the so-called "de-risking" approach when it comes to these issues. Instead, we have steadfastly expanded opening up to the outside world and strengthened cooperation with international multinational corporations.
You see, now indeed the automotive industry has become a flagship project of cooperation between China and Germany. I am also delighted to hear that Chancellor Scholz mentioned twice today that they welcome China's electric vehicle industry, including companies like BYD and Contemporary Amperex Technology Co. Limited (CATL), to invest in Germany. They are certainly welcomed, and we also hope that one day we can ride in cars produced by the Chinese in Germany.
I believe that the vast majority of friends in the German business community do not perceive China as a risk, nor would they support any actions aimed at so-called "de-risking" with regard to China. We should further expand mutual opening-up, create a more fair and convenient business environment, bring more benefits to enterprises and people of both countries and create greater space for mutual benefits. Together, we can promote global economic recovery and development.
We have an ancient Chinese saying that says “Nothing, not even mountains and oceans, can separate people with shared goals and vision..” This is because the close collaboration between the economic and business communities of China and Germany is what enables our economic and technological cooperation to thrive and endure. I hope that everyone will continue to play their role as bridges and connectors, sharing the success stories of China-Germany cooperation with the international community. Let us share China's commitment to expanding openness and deepening international cooperation, and promote a sense of firm confidence and practicality.
I sincerely wish that China-Germany economic and technical cooperation will reach new heights, and may the friendship between the people of China and Germany last forever. Thank you all!
Again, please note the translation we provided above is an unofficial one and may miss something. For the whole speech made in Chinese with a German voiceover, please refer to the video recording by ARD, the German broadcasting network.
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