Economy: Habeck warns China of consequences of Russia course

Economy: Habeck warns China of consequences of Russia course
Economy: Habeck warns China of consequences of Russia course

China and Russia maintain good relations – despite the war in Ukraine. From a German perspective, this is a problem, says Habeck clearly. And he is also lobbying Beijing for serious talks on car tariffs.

Federal Minister of Economics Robert Habeck (Greens) has warned the Chinese government of the economic consequences of its support for Russia. German and European security interests are directly affected by Russia’s war against Ukraine, Habeck said in Beijing at a meeting with Chinese government representatives on climate issues.

His counterpart was the chairman of the powerful National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), Zheng Shanjie. The authority is supposed to control the development of the Chinese economy.

“We would proceed differently and certainly not quite as harshly in the analysis of where we have dependencies on raw materials and technical goods if there were no war or support for this war by China against Russia,” stressed Habeck. The things cannot be separated. “Our relationship, our direct relationship, is already negatively affected.”

EU Commission accuses China of unfair subsidies

In the trade dispute over tariffs on cheap Chinese electric cars, Habeck called on the Chinese side to take the EU Commission’s findings seriously. The Brussels authority accuses the Chinese government of unfair subsidies and has threatened high tariffs.

China retaliated by announcing an anti-dumping investigation into imported products from the European Union, which concerns pork and by-products. However, China accused the EU Commission on Thursday of asking far too detailed and far-reaching questions in the subsidy investigation.

Habeck warned against trade barriers and the isolation of markets, but also against unfair competition with state favoritism for companies. Neither Germany nor China could be interested in this. He stressed that the threatened EU tariffs were not punitive tariffs like those imposed by the USA, Brazil or Turkey. Rather, they were intended to ensure a level playing field.

China demands leadership from Germany

“This is a balancing of the advantages granted and that is why it is important to take the opportunity provided by this report seriously and to talk about it, to negotiate about it,” said Habeck. This could lead to either a different result or a different assessment, or even a change of course. “Otherwise, in order to preserve common market access, it will certainly not be possible to prevent these countervailing duties from coming into force.”

Zheng, however, called Europe’s approach “unacceptable” according to the translation. In the long run, it will reduce the prosperity of European consumers and harm the development of the European car industry. It is also not in line with efforts to reduce greenhouse gases.

The technological lead of Chinese car manufacturers is hard-earned and not the result of subsidies, said Zheng. His country only exports 12.5 percent of its electric cars and sells them abroad for more than at home. He demanded that Germany show leadership and that the federal government correct the wrong European approach.

Source: Stern

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