German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang hold a news conference at the chancellery in Berlin, Germany, July 9, 2018. REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke
January 10, 2019
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s influential BDI industry association has called on the European Union to adopt a tougher economic policy towards China to help firms as concern mounts over price dumping, technology transfer and unequal access to licenses and financing.
In a paper to be presented on Thursday, the BDI stressed that German firms need China as a market, but sounded the alarm about Beijing’s reluctance to open up access and made 54 demands to Berlin and Brussels to help.
“Beijing should in its own interests further open its domestic market and properly implement its long-announced economic reforms,” BDI President Dieter Kempf said.
The paper, first reported by Reuters in October, called for the EU to create a stronger economic framework for its own internal market to bind firms from non-market economies to its own liberal economic system.
“For the EU, it is more important than ever not only to spell out the importance of its own system and values internally but also to offensively represent them externally,” said the BDI.
Among its demands are toughening up EU subsidy rules. Companies that don’t produce goods in the EU should not be able to receive state subsidies, it argued. It also called for more EU investment in infrastructure and innovation.
As Germany’s main business lobby group, the BDI’s views carry weight and feed into government policy decisions.
Bilateral trade between Germany and China hit a record 187 billion euros in 2017, almost 30 percent of the total EU trade with the Asian giant. Some of the country’s biggest companies, including Volkswagen <VOWG_p.DE> and BMW <BMWG.DE>, rely heavily on the rapidly-growing market.
(Writing by Madeline Chambers)