Germany’s trade with China has hit a record high.” Germany’s “Süddeutsche Zeitung” reported on the 8th that despite political warnings of over-reliance on China, trade between Germany and China rose to a record high last year.
According to data released by the German Federal Statistical Office on the same day, merchandise trade volume between Germany and China last year was about 298 billion euros, an increase of about 21% over 2021. China has thus become Germany’s most important trading partner for the seventh consecutive year. Specifically, in 2022, Germany will import goods worth 191 billion euros from China, an increase of 1/3 over 2021. mainly including electrical and electronic products, textiles/clothing, machinery and chemical products. On the other hand, exports of goods “Made in Germany” to China rose by 3.1 percent to around 107 billion euros.
Lukas Menkelhoff, head of the world economy department at the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) in Berlin, told Reuters that the widening of Germany’s trade deficit with China was mainly due to its dependence on China for key raw materials, with about two-thirds of Germany’s rare earths produced. Imported from China. Another German economic research institution analyzed that short-term factors such as the epidemic and the energy crisis caused the trade imbalance between Germany and China, and it is also related to the increasing desire of German companies to transfer more business to China and the increasing competitiveness of “Made in China”. Such a long-term trend. The “Voice of Deutsche Welle” said on the 8th that China is increasingly regarded as a competitor within the German government. Germany’s economy ministry is planning broad requirements for German companies doing business in China. The draft “China Strategy” released by the ministry at the end of 2022 calls for a drastic reduction in dependence on China.
Cui Hongjian, director of the European Institute of the China Institute of International Studies, told the Global Times reporter on the 9th that the expansion of Germany’s trade deficit with China has both trade structure factors and political influences. Chinese products not only have a cost advantage, but also in some areas, the competitiveness of products with reasonable prices and good quality is becoming stronger and stronger. However, in recent years, Germany has tightened controls on the export of so-called strategic industries such as high technology, limiting the release of Germany’s export potential to China. Sun Keqin, a researcher at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations, said that under the background of the Russia-Ukraine conflict, the European production structure has been disrupted, and German production costs have increased, which has also led to a narrowing of its exports to China.
Sun Keqin said that it is irrational for some pro-American forces in Germany to politicize the normal trade and investment between China and Germany and turn it into pan-security, and to restrict German companies’ investment and exports to China. He suggested “let trade return to trade and investment return to investment”. Cui Hongjian believes that the German side should have a correct understanding and not be influenced by some populist views. It should clearly see the fact that Sino-German economic and trade cooperation is beneficial to both sides, and properly handle the relationship between politics and economy. At the same time, it is necessary to reasonably manage and control competition, so that the competition between China and Germany in some economic and trade fields can become a positive driving force, so that the common interests of both parties can be realized in a healthier and more sustainable way.