Xi, Scholz discuss economy via call

Chinese President Xi Jinping and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz held talks over video, where they discussed various important issues at a time when the European Union is working to reduce its reliance on China. President Xi emphasised the significance of the European Union as a comprehensive strategic partner and a key player in a multipolar world for China. He encouraged Germany to advocate for EU principles of marketisation and fairness and collaborate with China to safeguard fair market competition and free trade.

President Xi also mentioned China’s new policies designed to promote foreign investment in the country. He highlighted “major steps” like removing restrictions on foreign investment access in the manufacturing sector and further opening up cross-border service trade and investment.

Tensions between China and the EU have been growing, partly due to concerns about Beijing’s growing ties with Russia and unfair trade practices. While China is the EU’s second-largest trading partner, the EU has been increasingly vocal about reducing political and economic exposure to China.

Notably, the European Commission initiated an investigation into Chinese electric vehicle (EV) imports in September, alleging that they may benefit unfairly from state subsidies. The outcome of this investigation could impact not only Chinese EVs but also foreign EVs produced in China, such as Tesla and BMW.

Germany, as Europe’s largest economy, has maintained a relatively more amicable relationship with China, primarily due to its substantial bilateral trade volume. Chancellor Scholz was the first European leader to visit China after President Xi started his unprecedented third term in office.

During their meeting, President Xi and Chancellor Scholz emphasised their countries’ roles as responsible major powers and the need to develop bilateral relations, setting an example for mutually beneficial cooperation.

They also discussed the current international situation, including the conflict in Gaza and Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine. President Xi emphasised the importance of safeguarding the international order and multilateralism, and working together to address global challenges. Both leaders had jointly condemned the threats of using nuclear weapons during their meeting in November amid the Ukraine-Russia conflict.

In this latest discussion, they touched upon various security and global issues, stating the need for deeper thinking about security matters and the construction of a balanced, effective, and sustainable security architecture to address the root causes of crises like the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and the Ukraine crisis.

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