China and Europe affirm their support for free trade ahead of the G20

China Plus Published: 2018-11-28 21:36:52
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Note: The following is an edited translation of a commentary from the Chinese-language "Commentaries on International Affairs."

Against the increasingly negative backdrop of the impact of trade protectionism on global growth, China's commitment to join hands with Germany, and Europe more broadly, to build an open global economy has sent a strong positive signal to countries around the world. China's Vice Premier Liu He has concluded his visit to Germany, during which he met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and delivered a keynote speech at the closing of the eighth Hamburg Summit of the China-Europe Forum.

During his meeting with Chancellor Merkel, the vice premier conveyed a message from President Xi Jinping, namely that China is willing to work closely with Germany to promote global economic governance, maintain multilateralism and free trade, and build an open world economy.

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (front row, center) signs the 'golden book' of Hamburg's Chamber of Commerce as German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (front row, left), the European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager (front row, right), Hamburg's Mayor Peter Tschentscher (row behind, left) and other delegates look on in Hamburg, Germany, on Wednesday, November 27, 2018. [Photo: VCG]

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He (front row, center) signs the 'golden book' of Hamburg's Chamber of Commerce as German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer (front row, left), the European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager (front row, right), Hamburg's Mayor Peter Tschentscher (row behind, left) and other delegates look on in Hamburg, Germany, on Wednesday, November 27, 2018. [Photo: VCG]

When addressing the forum, Vice Premier Liu also pointed out that as firm defenders of free trade rules and multilateral systems, China and Europe share broad common interests, and so must seek to deepen their cooperation to meet the challenges facing globalization.

In response, Chancellor Merkel said her country remains very interested in participating in the Belt and Road Initiative, and that it always welcomes and actively supports investment by China in Germany. And she affirmed Germany's willingness to maintain communication with China on the global economic and trade situation. This message was backed up by former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, who said that China, Germany, and the European Union have an obligation to strengthen their dialogue and to work together to uphold multilateralism and free trade.

China and Germany are all-round strategic partners with enormous scope for cooperation when it comes to safeguarding the openness of the world economy. Both countries are world trading powers and leading sources of foreign direct investment. Both countries benefit from an open world market, as does the world's largest trading bloc the European Union.

The European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager said in a speech at the Hamburg Summit that, given they account for about one-third of the world's gross domestic product, China and Europe need to work together to strengthen the rules-based international system, so that there is a level playing field and fair competition.

China and Europe have already made their belief in openness and fair trade known to the world, based on their understanding that there are no winners in a trade war. When the G20 summit opens in Buenos Aires on Friday, time will tell what position the other world leaders will choose.

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LU Xiankun Professor LU Xiankun is Managing Director of LEDECO Geneva and Associate Partner of IDEAS Centre Geneva. He is Emeritus Professor of China Institute for WTO Studies of the University of International Business and Economics (UIBE) and Wuhan University (WHU) of China and visiting professor or senior research fellow of some other universities and think tanks in China and Europe. He also sits in management of some international business associations and companies, including as Senior Vice President of Shenzhen UEB Technology LTD., a leading e-commerce company of China. Previously, Mr. LU was senior official of Chinese Ministry of Commerce and senior diplomat posted in Europe, including in Geneva as Counsellor and Head of Division of the Permanent Mission of China to the WTO and in Brussels as Commercial Secretary of the Permanent Mission of China to the EU. Benjamin Cavender Benjamin Cavender is a Shanghai based consultant with more than 11 years of experience helping companies understand consumer behavior and develop go to market strategies for China. He is a frequent speaker on economic and consumer trends in China and is often featured on CNBC, Bloomberg, and Channel News Asia. Sara Hsu Sara Hsu is an associate professor from the State University of New York at New Paltz. She is a regular commentator on Chinese economy. Xu Qinduo Xu Qinduo is CRI's former chief correspondent to Washington DC, the United States. He works as the producer, host and commentator for TODAY, a flagship talk show on current affairs. Mr. Xu contributes regularly to English-language newspapers including Shenzhen Daily and Global Times as well as Chinese-language radio and TV services. Lin Shaowen A radio person, Mr. Lin Shaowen is strongly interested in international relations and Chinese politics. As China is quite often misunderstood in the rest of the world, he feels the need to better present the true picture of the country, the policies and meanings. So he talks a lot and is often seen debating. Then friends find a critical Lin Shaowen criticizing and criticized. George N. Tzogopoulos Dr George N. Tzogopoulos is an expert in media and politics/international relations as well as Chinese affairs. He is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre International de Européenne (CIFE) and Visiting Lecturer at the European Institute affiliated with it and is teaching international relations at the Department of Law of the Democritus University of Thrace. George is the author of two books: US Foreign Policy in the European Media: Framing the Rise and Fall of Neoconservatism (IB TAURIS) and The Greek Crisis in the Media: Stereotyping in the International Press (Ashgate) as well as the founder of, an institutional partner of CRI Greek. David Morris David Morris is the Pacific Islands Trade and Investment Commissioner in China, a former Australian diplomat and senior political adviser. Harvey Dzodin After a distinguished career in the US government and American media Dr. Harvey Dzodin is now a Beijing-based freelance columnist for several media outlets. While living in Beijing, he has published over 200 columns with an emphasis on arts, culture and the Belt & Road initiative. He is also a sought-after speaker and advisor in China and abroad. He currently serves as Nonresident Research Fellow of the think tank Center for China and Globalization and Senior Advisor of Tsinghua University National Image Research Center specializing in city branding. Dr. Dzodin was a political appointee of President Jimmy Carter and served as lawyer to a presidential commission. Upon the nomination of the White House and the US State Department he served at the United Nations Office in Vienna, Austria. He was Director and Vice President of the ABC Television in New York for more than two decades.