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Premier Li’s Berlin visit targets innovation partnership

Li Xiaokun/Zhou Wa
Updated: Jun 1,2017 10:26 AM     China Daily

Premier Li Keqiang arrived in Berlin on May 31, starting a two-day visit highlighting cooperation on innovation.

Premier Li and German Chancellor Angela Merkel held the two nations’ yearly prime ministers meeting that same day, with innovation high on the agenda.

The two leaders also planned to attend a forum on the topic and talk with business executives from both sides.

On his arrival, Premier Li said his visit is meant to build on the Sino-German friendship, and to promote innovation while enhancing cooperation between the two countries.

Gu Junli, a German studies expert at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said: “The synergy of the Made in China 2025 strategy and Germany’s Industry 4.0 campaign is likely to be a major topic of the premiers’ meeting.

“Germany is seeking intelligent manufacturing, while China is trying to deeply integrate manufacturing with the internet, to have the power of the market improve the pattern and quality of the manufacturing industry.”

The nations’ different approaches provide a huge opportunity for cooperation, and Premier Li’s visit is expected to expand and deepen the cooperation, he said.

Gu said key areas may be renewable energy and environmental protection, which are growing pillar industries in Germany.

Ambassador to Germany Shi Mingde said in an interview with Chinese media before the visit that “manufacturing industries of the two nations are highly complementary. China is a big manufacturing country, while Germany is a strong one.

“A new round of industrial revolution is speeding up, gaining momentum ... which has brought an unprecedented opportunity for strategic cooperation.”

Shi said there are 8,000 German companies operating in China with a total investment volume of more than 60 billion euros ($67 billion), while nearly 2,000 Chinese enterprises are operating in Germany.

Those companies will be a key strength in advancing cooperation, he said.

Two strong nations joining hands will have an effect far beyond their boundaries, Shi said.

He cited the potential for construction under the Belt and Road Initiative. That refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, which aim to increase connections between Asia, Europe and other areas.

He also mentioned the possibility for Beijing and Berlin to jointly influence the establishment of global standards for intelligent manufacturing.

The forum during Premier Li’s visit is expected to forge new, innovative ways to cooperate in fields such as smart manufacturing, electric vehicles and innovation by young people, he said.

Hubertus Troska, a member of Daimler AG’s board who is responsible for China, said the trends of connectivity, autonomous driving, sharing and electric mobility are revolutionizing the auto industry, “perhaps nowhere faster than in China”.

“In line with China’s economic development plan, we will meet both opportunities and challenges head-on with further innovations and upgraded manufacturing,” he said in a written interview with China Daily.

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