Successes of China’s One Belt, One Road have helped China become a global leader, with Berlin and Beijing agreeing over trade concerns in the West due to US president Donald Trump’s ongoing tariff war with both export powerhouses.
German chancellor Merkel aims to hold the summit amid China’s rise as the EU’s largest trading partner as Germany takes over the EU’s rotating six-month presidency in mid-2020, Reuters reported on Monday.
Germany is a member of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank and contributes roughly $4.5bn, or 4.1 percent of the bank’s total capital. However, as the EU’s largest economy and exporter, Berlin has urged EU leaders to continue negotiations with China as a bloc instead of individual member states.
Siemens AG, Europe’s largest conglomerate, signed over ten agreements in June last year with China and boosted cooperation with Chinese infrastructure firms in energy management and production, construction, and others. Siemens generated €8.1bn ($9.2bn) in revenues in China from October 2017 to September 2018, company figures show.
Other meetings have taken place, with the “China Meets Europe” summit meeting in Hamburg last November amid President Trump’s trade war, where $50bn in Chinese exports were hit 25 percent tariffs, with Beijing taking equivalent measures.
Shared interests under Germany’s leadership will help facilitate China-EU relations. “Germany should make China an important theme of its EU council presidency in 2020,” Hubert Lienhard, head of the German parliamentary Asia-Pacific committee said.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Merkel has already resigned as Christian Democrat (CDU) party leader and announced she will not seek office as Chancellor again, leaving German leader party leader Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer to lead future talks with China.
With Germany taking the helm of EU-China negotiations in 2020 and the UK set to exit the common market at the end of March, leaving behind 27 members, the UK and EU will strike separate free trade agreements with Beijing under vastly different frameworks.