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Germany calls for EU-China trade discussions, criticizes Beijing's exports to Russia

by Olena Goncharova June 23, 2024 1:58 AM  (Updated: ) 2 min read
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is received in Beijing by Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing on April 16, 2024. (Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images)
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Germany’s vice-chancellor expressed readiness to discussions with Beijing regarding EU tariffs but adopted a more stringent stance on Chinese exports to Russia during the first visit to mainland China by a senior European politician since the tariffs were introduced.

Robert Habeck, the minister for economic affairs and climate action, indicated his anticipation of imminent talks between Beijing and Brussels, according to the Financial Times. He clarified that the tariffs of up to 38 percent on Chinese electric vehicles were "not punitive."

"There’s room for discussion," he said at a press conference in Shanghai.  "I hope that in the days to come the European Commission and the Chinese trade minister will talk."

While adopting a conciliatory tone on the yet-to-be-finalized tariffs, Habeck was critical of China’s increasing exports to Russia. He highlighted Germany’s own measures to halt the export of "dual-use" goods with potential military applications.

"I looked at the trade figures and Chinese trade with Russia increased more than 40 per cent last year," he said. "Of course energy is a high part [of] it, but something like half of it is related to dual-use goods."

Germany maintains a close economic relationship with China, its largest trading partner and a vital market for its auto industry. Berlin has strived to carefully navigate the increasing tensions between Beijing and Washington, which worsened significantly after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

China should also be concerned about Russia-North Korea pact, White House says
A recently signed partnership agreement between Moscow and Pyongyang should worry not only the U.S. but also China as it threatens to undermine the stability of the Korean peninsula, the White House said on June 20.

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