Sino-German cooperation pragmatic: China Daily editorial
The first overseas plant of Chinese power battery giant Contemporary Amperex Technology in Thuringia, Germany, which started the mass production of lithium-ion battery cells as scheduled recently, serves as a good example of the pragmatic cooperation between China and Germany.
The 14 gigawatt-hour plant, with an investment of 1.8 billion euros ($1.96 billion), is currently capable of producing enough batteries to power up to 350,000 electric vehicles each year. The world's largest EV battery manufacturer hopes to create around 2,000 new jobs in Germany while streamlining the battery delivery process for its European customers including major carmakers such as BMW, Volkswagen and Daimler. Previously, EV batteries had to be shipped from China to Germany by sea. While the win-win project enables CATL to bring its cutting-edge battery technologies to Germany, the European country's manufacturing and R&D prowess will also contribute greatly to the company's future development in Europe.
Of course CATL's move to strengthen its foothold in Europe has not been without controversy. The fact that China makes more than 70 percent of the world's lithium-ion batteries and CATL is on the way to becoming the largest battery maker in Europe has prompted some politicians in Germany to warn against an over-reliance on China for a key technology, while calling on the government to devise a confrontational strategy toward China that aims to reduce economic dependence on the country's largest trading partner.
Such a view reflects a zero-sum mentality and will prove harmful to the common understanding and mutual trust that the two sides have worked to build over the past five decades. Economic and trade cooperation has always served as the pillar of Sino-German relations, and it will be in the interests of both countries if they can jointly resist disturbance from calls for bloc confrontation and attempts to see everything through the prism of ideology.
Fortunately, many German businesses such as BASF have continued to expand their investments in China, attracted by its huge market size and the great opportunities that are set to arise as the country pursues higher-level opening-up and higher-quality growth, with German companies' direct investment in China hitting a record high in the first half of 2022. As German Finance Minister Christian Lindner admitted, "decoupling our economy from the Chinese market would not be in the interest of jobs in Germany".
Thanks to the vision and courage of the top leadership of both countries, China and Germany have seen their bilateral trade grow nearly 1,000 times over the past five decades, benefiting both countries and contributing to world peace and development. Hopefully the two countries will continue to work together to achieve new progress in bilateral relations.