Germany’s politicization of trade issues poses risks to economic relations with China

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German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Tuesday that the country is changing the way it deals with China and will give higher priority to human rights issues. Habeck said Germany is reducing its dependence on China and will conduct a more thorough review of German companies’ investment applications in China to rule out “human rights violations” and “forced labor” in the supply chain, according to Reuters.

Habeck’s remarks came as Western media and politicians are busy cooperating with each other to stage a political farce over Xinjiang. After the BBC published so-called new evidence of ‘re-education centres’ in Xinjiang on Tuesday, the US State Department said the US was ‘appalled’ by the latest allegations and Britain’s Foreign Secretary claimed the new evidence contained “shocking” details.

In response to the BBC report, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said it was the latest example of Xinjiang being vilified by anti-China forces. Lies and rumors cannot deceive the world. The latest publicity stunts set up by US and UK politicians and media apparently aim to use the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights’ visit to China to stoke the so-called Xinjiang issue and discredit China .

As an economic official in the German government, Habeck should not be in a rush to get involved in the US-led smear campaign against Xinjiang. His remarks on the baseless accusation of “human rights violations” and “forced labor” have politicized economic and trade issues, bringing unnecessary risks to Germany’s economic and trade relations with China.

China and Germany have long enjoyed stable and complementary economic relations. According to data from Germany’s Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), merchandise trade between Germany and China in 2021 reached 245.7 billion euros ($262.7 billion). China has been Germany’s most important trading partner for six consecutive years. Reducing its economic and commercial dependence on China solely because of human rights lies fabricated by the United States is obviously not a wise choice for Germany.

The stable development of the Sino-German economy and trade in recent years is partly due to the complementarity of each other’s economy, but more importantly, the two countries maintain and respect each other’s diplomatic relations. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Germany. Germany should not follow the despicable behavior of the United States and its anti-China pawns by militarizing human rights issues.

Facts have repeatedly proven that the real purpose of the US “forced labor” lies is to undermine the momentum of economic development, stability and prosperity of the Xinjiang region in order to contain China. If Germany gets sucked into this anti-China political farce, only Sino-German economic and trade relations and cooperation will be harmed. Germany must not cooperate with the US anti-China strategy to the detriment of its own economic interests.

Economic and trade cooperation between China and Germany still enjoys broad prospects. The two sides not only have close cooperation in traditional manufacturing, but also have huge potential for cooperation in emerging areas such as digital economy and green economy. The Chinese market will provide ample space for German products and services. The high-quality development and modernization of China’s manufacturing industry will also continue to provide opportunities for German companies. Strengthening cooperation between China and Germany is of great importance for stabilizing the global industrial chain and global economic growth.

Uncoupling and chain breaking does not benefit anyone. China and Germany should enhance strategic communication to inject more stability and positive energy into the world, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi noted Tuesday in a video meeting with his counterpart. German Annalena Baerbock. It is hoped that Germany can cherish the mutually beneficial economic ties with China and stop politicizing economic issues to attack China.

The author is an editor at the Global Times. [email protected]

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