Chinese President Xi Jinping called for a “quantum leap” to boost economic ties with Germany as companies including Daimler AG, Bayer AG and Siemens AG signed agreements to expand in China.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Xi presided over the signing ceremony after talks in Berlin today and said they want to broaden trade and investment between the world’s two biggest exporting nations.
“We talked in particular about forging ahead in the areas of industry, energy supplies and research,” Merkel said at a joint news conference. China aims “to make a quantum leap, in volume but also in quality” in trade with Germany, Xi said.
Xi’s German trip follows a visit to France and a global summit in the Netherlands where President Barack Obama sought his backing against Russia’s incursion into Ukraine. His visit “sealed a comprehensive strategic partnership” with China that’s still expanding, Merkel said.
Germany is China’s largest European trading partner, importing Chinese goods valued at 77.3 billion euros ($106 billion) in 2012, according to the Federal Statistics Office. China is Germany’s biggest export market outside Europe after the U.S.
In a sign of growing financial ties, Germany’s Bundesbank and the People’s Bank of China signed a memorandum of understanding to enable clearing and settlement of yuan trades in Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital.
Other agreements signed today include Daimler’s 1-billion euro ($1.37 billion) investment with Beijing Automotive Industry Corporation to expand car and engine output in China and Bayer’s 100 million-euro plan to boost production capacity at its Beijing plant, according to e-mailed company statements.
Siemens, Huaneng Power International Inc. and Shanghai Electric Group signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate on gas turbines and power plants. Bayerische Motoren Werke AG said it will deepen its cooperation with Brilliance China Automotive Holdings Ltd.
Xi, the first Chinese president to visit Germany since 2005, travels tomorrow to Wolfsburg, home to automaker Volkswagen AG, and the western state of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s industrial heartland.