The country’s foreign minister Sigmar Gabriel has told his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi that the communist country should create a fairer business environment for foreign companies, especially German carmakers looking to expand their business, in particular the growing market for greener cars.
German manufacturers have indicated some urgency in the need to create new markets for their products as both the US and UK markets look set to enforce more protectionist policies.
Germany's Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel speaking in Bonn at the G20 summit
Donald Trump has advocated more protectionist policies in his drive to “make America great again” while access to the UK looks set to be harder as it withdraws from the single market after leaving the European Union.
Mr Gabriel, speaking after his meeting in Bonn with other foreign ministers of the G20 countries, said: "China has again promised that it wants to proceed on the path of market liberalisation and reforms.”
Car production at Audi AG's plant in Germany
I have urged minister Wang that China reinforce that, with clear signals of equal treatment for foreign companies in China, for example in the field of electric mobility.
German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel
He added: "I have as such urged minister Wang that China reinforce that, with clear signals of equal treatment for foreign companies in China, for example in the field of electric mobility.”
China surpassed the United States last year to become the largest maker of pure electric cars thanks to a raft of government incentives to promote the switch from petrol to electricity as the country battles heavy pollution.
China's Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi, Germany's Sigmar Gabriel & Argentina's Susana Malcorra
Sales of battery electric and plug-in hybrids increased 60 percent in January-November, to 402,000 vehicles. By 2020, China wants five million plug-in cars on its roads.
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In September, Volkswagen AG signed a deal with China's Anhui Jianghuai Automobile (JAC Motor) to explore making electric vehicles in a new joint venture.
United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres (L) , Wang Yi and Sigmar Gabriel
Despite disagreements with China over obstacles to foreign investment, its massive steel exports and other issues, the European Union increasingly sees Beijing as a crucial ally on global free trade in the face of protectionist pressures from US President Trump's administration.
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