HAMBURG, Germany — A new chapter of the love affair between China and Germany is unfolding as the protectionist Trump administration targets both countries with tariffs.The president this week once again raised the prospect of introducing a new 25 percent tariff on imported cars, rattling nerves in Germany.
which exports $20 billion worth of vehicles to the U.S. annually Calls for further expansion of political and economic cooperation between Beijing and Berlin resonated loudly at this week’s China Meets Europe summitin this northern German port city.
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While China’s drive to strengthen old trade relations and seek new alliances in Europe has raised red flags in Washington, German Chancellor last year said Europeans « must really take our fate into our own hands.
« In Germany, we are thinking about new strategic alliances because we have a feeling that we cannot trust our old alliances and that we need to adapt to a new world order, » said Henning Voepel, director of the Hamburg Institute of International Economics.
China is already Germany’s top trading partner — with a volume of more than $204 billion in 2017, putting it ahead of the United States for the second consecutive year. But it is also waging a trade war with Washington.
More than half of Berlin’s trade with Beijing is handled in the port city of Hamburg, which the Chinese respectfully call « Han Bao » or « Fortress of the Chinese » due to longstanding ties. Every third container in the port either arrives from China or is destined for it.
But Wolfgang Ischinger, a former German ambassador to Washington who is now head of the Munich Security Conference, told this week’s summit that the relationship with China « represents one of the greatest historic opportunities » for both Germany and the 28-country European Union.
Against the backdrop of China’s trade war with the U.S. and supplemented by projects including its modern-day revival of the old Silk Road known as the Belt and Road Initiative, China is investing in trade infrastructure in more than 60 countries worldwide. German cities like Hamburg and Duisberg are becoming major logistics hubs for Europe-bound trains from China.