Press release
2 min read

What to expect from the German chancellor's upcoming trip to China

What can we expect from the German chancellor's upcoming trip to China and what Xi Jinping's priorities are in relations with Germany? Read the assessments of our experts in our MERICS Quick Take.

Max J. Zenglein, Chief Economist at MERICS:

"Technological autocracy and control over the economy remain priorities of Xi Jinping's economic policy. Chinese declarations of openness and reform must be seen in this context."

"Germany plays an exceptional role for China in the development of its economy and also in foreign trade relations. As countries such as the USA and Japan are positioning themselves much more sharply towards China, Germany remains a key, relatively open, access point for technology and capital. Germany is definitely in a position of strength here. The question now is how this will be used in the context of the trip."

"Almost a year after the release of the German China strategy, it looks as if there is a stronger focus on the tried and tested positive bilateral agenda, which has generated significant economic benefits for both sides. However, the economic realities in China have changed to the detriment of the German economy. This can be seen from the fact that the share of German exports going to China has fallen back to the level of 2014."

Nis Grünberg, Lead Analyst in the Politics and Society program at MERICS:

"Xi Jinping is still firmly in the saddle in China, and as such he can rely on his policies being implemented. In this context, reform does not mean political liberalization or opening up. According to the Chinese interpretation, reform means strengthening and adapting one's own system to the changing global realities."

"Politics trumps economics in China. Some people in China are critical of the ever greater focus on ideology, but there is no significant opposition, no power group that could push through changes."

"If there is one risk for Xi, it is the economy: his power is based on the promise that the economy will continue to grow and deliver broad prosperity for the population. To keep the economy stable and develop it further, China - still - needs foreign companies."

For media requests please contact Claudia Wessling ([email protected]) or Christine Krüger ([email protected]).