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As reported by Reuters, China and Germany have made headway on free trade commitments as the two countries signed a raft of trade agreements worth 20 billion Euros on Monday, making thinly-veiled slants towards the US regarding trade policies.

Key quotes

“The deals, involving German industrial giants including Siemens, Volkswagen, and BASF, come with the two leading exporting powerhouses being forced into an unlikely alliance in defense of the open global trade on which both their economies depend.

Speaking at a news conference alongside Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Chancellor Angela Merkel said: “We both want to sustain the system of World Trade Organization rules.”  Li stressed the need to fight protectionism, saying China needed a stable and peaceful framework so it could develop further, and that was only possible with free trade: “We are against unilateralism – we are in favor of free trade.”

German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz agreed with Chinese central bank chief Yi Gang that German banks would promptly get market access in the financial sector in China, newspaper Handelsblatt cited sources involved in their meeting as saying.  

Handelsblatt also cited the sources as saying China’s government had said that German companies and institutions would soon be able to issue bonds in renminbi in China.

Merkel said she hoped a Sino-European summit on July 16-17 would bring about progress on protecting investments and added: “I also hope that Germany and China can make a contribution towards ensuring that the world does not end up blundering into a spiral of trade conflicts.”

European officials have said China is putting pressure on the EU to issue a strong joint statement against President Donald Trump’s trade policies at that meeting.