China and Germany have taken solid steps in implementing a joint action plan as a way to help shape innovation, Premier Li Keqiang said in Berlin on June 1.
Premier Li, addressing a forum on innovation cooperation he attended with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, was referring to a comprehensive action plan on cooperation made in October 2014 during a previous visit.
The plan lays out a strategic blueprint for cooperation in different fields in the following five to 10 years in areas such as sustained development and promoting business startups.
Speaking to corporate leaders from both countries, Premier Li said innovation has created new engines for the China-Germany relationship.
China, a country undergoing industrialization, is working to move its production from medium and low-end to medium and high-end products, he said.
The Premier said that Germany has competitive enterprises, particularly in some manufacturing sectors, and a great spirit of entrepreneurship and craftsmanship. Many of its products are known worldwide for quality, he said.
That makes the two countries highly complementary, he said.
They should further strengthen their cooperation among medium and small-sized enterprises, Premier Li said. These enterprises could help create jobs, even at times when larger businesses have limited ability to do so.
To enable innovation and cooperation, the two countries should establish an open and fair business climate, ensuring that intellectual property is protected during the process, he said.
Premier Li noted that China, which will import an estimated $10 trillion in products in the coming five years, offers many opportunities. Hopefully, more competitive German products will tap the Chinese market, he said, benefiting both nations and bringing more options to Chinese consumers.
Feng Zhongping, vice-president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said technology should be the focus of the nations’ innovation cooperation because technological strength is what makes a country like Germany a leader in manufacturing.
“Future cooperation in such areas as new energy vehicles, protection of the environment and new energy can help China resolve the difficulties of balancing its economic growth and environment conservation,” Feng said.
Cui Hongjian, director of European Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said given that both countries place an emphasis on manufacturing, they should join in exploring new areas.