Business / Economy

Sino-German economic co-op has broader prospects

(Xinhua) Updated: 2012-04-21 17:35

BERLIN - Both being among the first countries that have cast aside the shadow of economic crisis, China and Germany enjoy broader prospects in furthering bilateral trade and investment cooperation, chief of a Berlin-based foreign trade and investment promotion agency said.

Sino-German economic and technical cooperation has been mutually complementary "in a wide range of aspects," said Michael Pfeiffer, chief of Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI).

China is always a reliable trading partner of Germany although its own economic growth has also been affected by the global economic crisis, Pfeiffer said.

China's total imports declined by 11.2 percent in 2009, but its imports from Germany still climbed a respectable 9.4 percent.

The strong Chinese demand has undoubtedly been helpful for Germany to offset its export declines in other markets, he said.

Pfeiffer said that China, which quickly recovered from the global financial crisis, highlighted issues such as quality of life, environmental protection and social security in its new five-year plan (2011 to 2015), viewing domestic consumption and innovation as "new economic engines."

German companies are offering solutions for more efficient use of resources and productivity enhancement, which can help China overcome new challenges, he added.

Pfeiffer cited the fact that China is the official partner at Hannover Fair 2012, the world's most important expo of the industrial sector, saying it demonstrated China's growing economic influence.

In fact, China's share of world gross domestic product has been increasing over the last decade, from 4 percent to about 10 percent.

Meanwhile, China is currently experiencing a strategic shift -- from a purely quantitative growth model to a more qualitative one, Pfeiffer said, adding this perfectly fits the theme of this year's Hannover Fair.

Pfeiffer said China could be very welcomed to put a comprehensive presentation in Hannover and introduce more stainability-oriented modernization programs, as Germany was convinced that China will not only build up its reputation as a leading trade partner, but also as an investment location for German companies which own specific know-how in energy efficiency and environmental protection technologies.

Pfeiffer said that GTAI would present broad knowledge and experiences to international visitors at the Hannover fair this year, and would help the Chinese delegation know more about German investment environment and promote China at the event.

Pfeiffer said China and Germany enjoy "equal partnership," noting that the wording indicates the fact that the German-Chinese economic relations have reached an entirely new level as the bilateral trade volume grew by an impressive 13.8 percent to 143.9 billion euros ($190.0 billion) in 2011.

Meanwhile, he said the landscape of investment has also changed. Since the early 1990s, China has been an attractive investment destination for German companies, and now the capital flow has become a two-way one. In 2011, China outpaced the United States and Britain with the most new foreign direct investment (FDI) projects in Germany, according to GTAI statistics.

Pfeiffer said China's investment flow into the European Union nearly doubled to $4.3 billion in 2011, including a good portion to Germany.

However, the gap remains very high, as German investment in China amounts to around 21 billion euros, while China's investment in Germany stands at less than 1 billion euros.

Currently, there are some 5,500 German companies operating in China, while there are only around 800 Chinese companies, mostly small- and medium-sized, operational on the German market, Pfeiffer said.

Pfeiffer was delighted that more and more Chinese enterprises realize the importance of Germany as an investment destination choice, and he hoped they would be more involved in Germany and Europe.

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