Li paves way for German investors

Updated: 2013-05-28 01:58

By DING QINGFEN in Berlin and CHEN JIA in Beijing (China Daily)

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6Preferential terms for logistics, education and medical training

Premier Li Keqiang pledged on Monday more opportunities for German investors while also giving his endorsement for more Chinese enterprises to invest in Germany and the rest of Europe.

Preferential terms will be given to German investors in the logistics, education and medical training sectors, Li said in Berlin, the German capital.

He was speaking on the last day of his tour to Germany, Switzerland, Pakistan and India.

China's focus has changed from large-scale investment in basic manufacturing to a large variety of modern services needed for the nation's unprecedented urbanization program.

Li chose Germany as his first stop in the European Union since taking office in March, aiming to expand mutual investment between China and Europe.

Ongoing industrialization, urbanization, the spread of information technology use, and agricultural modernization in China will provide huge potential for investment from Germany and from the world, Li said.

Commenting on China's economic situation, he assured his audience that the country's growth rate is within a "reasonable" range although it slowed slightly in the first quarter of the year from the last quarter of 2012.

Continuing reforms will help the economy remain on a steady course for growth, the premier said.

The founding of the China-Germany Chamber of Commerce was also announced on Monday in Berlin. It is set to be one of the largest business organizations for Chinese enterprises operating overseas.

After Li met with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Sunday, China and Germany said they will strengthen their partnership in urbanization and cooperate on agriculture, forestry, grain, consumer protection, food safety and eco-labeling.

They also agreed to deepen dialogue between their central banks, and improve the dialogue mechanism between their finance ministers.

In 2012, China became the third-largest foreign investor in Germany in terms of the number of projects, trailing only the United States and Switzerland.

Outbound direct investment from China to Germany increased by more than 100 percent last year, overtaking Germany's annual investment in China for the first time. Germany was the destination for more than 50 percent of China's ODI in Europe last year, according to the Commerce Ministry.

China's cumulative investment in Germany accounts for 2 percent of total foreign direct investment in the country.

Yan Jin, deputy director of the School of International Studies at Peking University, said the two countries will complement each other much more rather than acting as competitors.

Germany is a good partner to help China sharpen its innovative capabilities, improve the quality of its technology and add value to the manufacturing sector, she said.

"Germany's high-end machinery manufacturing, energy conservation and environmental protection sectors can provide more exports of techniques and goods to China, while China has advantages in labor- and capital-intensive industries," Yan added.

Mei Xinyu, a senior economist at the Chinese Academy of International Trade and Economic Cooperation, said: "The premier's visit to Germany is expected to inject fresh impetus into rebounding Sino-EU trade and help the EU economic recovery.

"Most of the existing laws and regulations on China-EU trade were formed in the 1980s, and already lag far behind rapid developments," Mei said.

"We hope the two countries' leaders can jointly improve the bilateral trade mechanism, refresh the rules, and accelerate economic cooperation and coordination."

Yan said deepened mutual trust between China and Germany is a priority to speed up their trade ties. "Germany is able to set a good example for the EU, in that disagreements and contradictions can be solved through a dialogue mechanism instead of sanctions," she said.