China-Germany ties are set to reach a new height with the two countries inking multi-billion-dollar deals and a landmark “action plan” to upgrade bilateral cooperation.
Before wrapping up his second visit since becoming premier, Li Keqiang, together with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, on Oct 10 oversaw the signing of a wide-ranging guideline covering 110 cooperation agreements over the next five to 10 years.
This followed the signing, also on Oct 10, of US$18.1 billion worth of trade, investment and technological cooperation deals between the two economies, which had a trade volume of around 140 billion euros last year.
The action plan and deals come as a big boon to Europe’s economic locomotive and Asia’s largest economy, which are both facing headwinds.
Germany’s top think tanks on Oct 9 slashed their 2014 growth forecast for the country to 1.3 percent, while the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences on Oct 10 cut China’s growth rate forecast to 7.3 percent.
Through the new deals, Germany will be able to effectively tap China’s huge market to pick up the slack in its lukewarm economy. At the same time, China can gain more experience and knowledge to upgrade its economy.
As Premier Li said during his visit, the China-Germany relationship is not a “simple buyer-seller one,” but a “high-level, win-win cooperative relationship with bright prospects.”
Trade and investment are not the whole story. The two sides should strive for an “innovation partnership,” with cooperation in industry, science and technology, agriculture, education, environment protection, urbanization, health care and social security.
The plan also calls for cooperation in food security, rule of law, renewable energy, intellectual property rights (IPR), small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), digitalized industrial production, electronic cars, and aerospace and aviation.
The cooperation agreements in these areas, written down in the landmark “action plan,” will bring the two countries’ current relationship, which is focused on trade and investment, to a higher level.
However, concrete steps are necessary to follow up on the plan. Both sides should do their utmost to translate its bright ideas into tangible results.
It is impossible for the two countries to agree on every issue, such as high-tech export restrictions, but they can solve these problems with wisdom.