Bbabo NET


Khabek received for words about naive dependence on China

Asia (, - The meeting of the head of the Ministry of Economy and Vice-Chancellor of Germany Robert Habek with representatives of German industry turned into a fierce debate about the future of German-Chinese economic cooperation, reports Der Spiegel, citing the participants of the event.

According to sources, the Minister of Economics warned the heads of German companies against being "naive" when building business relations with China. However, this wording drew criticism from the participants of the meeting. In particular, the head of the Federal Association of German Industry (BDI), Siegfried Russwurm, said that the Chinese market has no alternatives "at least because of its size."

“Industry does not need guidance from a minister,” Russwurm continued.

As the participants of the meeting admit, the words of the head of the BDI, who skillfully parried Habek's claims, forced the Vice-Chancellor to “retreat”. The head of the Ministry of Economy said he did not want his words to be taken as an accusation, adding that he did not call on German companies to "leave China."

“At the same time, it would be desirable if the German industry would more actively develop other markets - as a counterbalance to the People's Republic,” the minister added.

However, as Der Spiegel admits, Habek's attempt to justify himself only exacerbated the situation: the bosses of German concerns were "amazed" by the new statements of the vice-chancellor.

“With very rare exceptions, no one wants to close their business in China and switch to alternative markets. Moreover, we have been looking for new markets for a long time, for example, in Asia,” an industry source told the publication, acknowledging that attempts to find an alternative to China “have not yet been successful.”

This episode demonstrates how much German politicians and industrialists lack a common understanding of how to deal with Germany's most important trading partner in the future. At the same time, the differences between official Berlin and business on the issue of the prospects for relations with China are only intensifying. The consequence of such disunity is disputes like the current discussions about the acquisition by the Chinese state company Cosco of a stake in the port of Hamburg or about the upcoming visit of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz to Beijing.

Despite criticism of China coming from a number of high-ranking German politicians and members of the public, the heads of leading German companies - Siemens, BASF, Merck and Volkswagen - will also go to China along with the head of the German government.

“Refusing is not an option,” one of the members of the industrial delegation told Der Spiegel.

Moreover, other German industrialists would gladly take the vacant seat. In particular, representatives of the Union of German Mechanical Engineers really wanted to go to China, but they were not included in the application, the magazine reports.

“Details like this show that many German companies are addicted to the Chinese market like drug addicts on a needle,” Der Spiegel concludes, adding that German bosses hardly care about warnings like those recently voiced by Habek.

Khabek received for words about naive dependence on China