Premier Li to push free trade message during Germany trip

World Today

Premier Li to push free trade message during Germany tripGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes China’s Premier Li Keqiang with military honors in front of the German Chancellery in Berlin, Germany, Wednesday, May 31, 2017. (Bernd von Jutrczenka/dpa via AP)

China’s premier arrives in Berlin to defend free trade and, possibly, the Paris Climate Accord amid reports the U.S. is poised to withdraw from the agreement.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson reports.
Follow Guy Henderson on Twitter @guyhendersonde

This really was red carpet treatment for Li Keqiang. Now Berlin’s most powerful ally on an issue both see as crucial- free trade.

That gives new impetus to efforts to iron out some differences.

Earlier this month, a European Union delegation refused to fully endorse a cornerstone of Chinese economic policy – its Belt and Road Initiative – at a summit in Beijing. Their concern was a lack of transparency.

“This was not a no to the initiative – it was a no to the current way it evolves. We need to give equal opportunity to everybody, we need standardization – we need cooperation and coordination when standardization is not possible. Openness is very important,” Dimitrios Psarrakis, European Parliament said.

China’s position remains that’s it’s not ready.

“We have been opening our markets – like in manufacturing, a lot of FDI coming into China, we have opened our banking sector, finance sector, transportation sector. But you have to realize – China is still a developing country,” Biliang Hu, Belt & Road Research Institute, Beijing Normal University said.

Another common cause could emerge before this trip is over – with media reports that the United States is expected to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord.

There may be limits to this partnership – but on a number of issues, these two powers increasingly see eye-to-eye.

Angela Merkel stunned even her domestic allies this week by stating that Europe could no longer rely on the United States. It’s sparked a debate, with one side arguing that such strong language is no more than electioneering. The other – in a week where the leaders of two of Asia’s major emerging economies have visited the Chancellory – is that this is the start of a more significant shift in German thinking – namely, a pivot to Asia.

Andrew Karolyi on Germany-China relations

For more on German-China relations, CGTN’s Elaine Reyes spoke to Andrew Karolyi in New York. He is an associate dean for Academic Affairs and Professor of Finance at Cornell University.