China’s ambassador to Germany told the newspaper Die Welt that his country’s ties to Germany were closer than to any other country, but that it still could not fully open its market to foreign partners, Reuters reports.
Beijing and Berlin are of necessity close allies in the fight to preserve the open international trading system that has made them both exporting powerhouses. German businesses complain, however, that they do not enjoy the freedom to invest in China that the Chinese do in Europe.
“Political relations between China and Germany are as close and as good as never before”, Shi Mingde said in an interview released on Thursday. “With no other country does China maintain such intense relations.”
But Shi said that China needed to be cautious on foreign investment. Despite its integration into the world economy, China was still industrializing, he said, so it could not entirely open its market.
“I admit that the German market is more open than the Chinese market, and we will continue to open”, Shi said, “but not all at once, because we have to protect our domestic businesses.”
Asked about Germany’s signals to create mechanisms to shield strategically sensitive companies against takeovers by Chinese investors, Shi said that those fears were “totally groundless”.
“In most Chinese takeovers, two or three managers arrive from Beijing, but the leadership team stays,” he said, adding that companies would then get more orders from China and full access to the Chinese market.