Germany vows ‘no more naivety’ toward China trade
German Economy Minister says Berlin is working on a new trade policy with China to reduce reliance on Chinese raw materials, batteries, and semiconductors.
Germany vowed on Thursday to impose a "robust trade policy" on Beijing, citing concerns of over-reliance on China and alleged human rights violations.
After hosting a meeting of G7 trade ministers, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told reporters that any "naivety" in relations with China was "over".
"The period when we said trade no matter what, whatever the social or humanitarian standards are" is over, Habeck said.
"We will establish a robust trade policy towards China in Europe," he promised, as would other international partners in response to Chinese trade protections.
Germany, just like other western countries, sought to wrest back control of key technologies, such as batteries and semiconductors.
In the same context, G7 trade ministers concluded in a statement that diversifying trade" was "key to ensuring well-functioning supply chains".
"China is one of the concerns, concern on distortion, industrial subsidies, on transparency," European Union trade commissioner Vladis Dombrovskis said as quoted by AFP.
"We need to discuss about the way to address it," said Dombrovskis.
The EU announced earlier this week that it would prohibit products allegedly made through forced labor.
China, the EU's most important trading partner, accounted for 16.2% of total EU trade in 2021, with Beijing corresponding for 22.3% of total European imports and 10.3% of exports.
Earlier this year, the EU also unmasked a multibillion-euro "Chips Act" aimed at doubling Europe's semiconductor market share and reducing reliance on Asian supplies.
Global chip shortages and supply chain bottlenecks have affected the automotive, healthcare, and telecom industries, among others.
According to analysts, a shortage of microchips in manufacturing processes in the US cost the country's economy $240 billion last year, with electronics companies bearing the brunt of the impact.
The G7 declaration comes as Chinese President Xi Jinping met Russian President Vladimir Putin in Uzbekistan, along with other Asian leaders, to tackle military and trade cooperation.