China ‘will boost innovation, creativity’

Updated 12 October 2014

China ‘will boost innovation, creativity’

HAMBURG: China’s Premier Li Keqiang said the world’s second-biggest economy must open further to harness the innovative and creative talents of its 1.3 billion people.
After three decades of reforms, China — often called the world’s manufacturing workshop — had launched administrative and market reforms “to boost creation and innovation,” he said on a visit to Germany.
“What we hope is to incentivize 1.3 billion people, including 800-900 million workers, to mobilize their innovation capability and creativity so that everyone will have an opportunity to make great accomplishments,” he said.
This would “turn our dividend of population into a dividend of talents.”
Li was speaking at a business forum on the first country stop of a week-long Europe tour, a day after Berlin and Beijing signed a range of business deals and pledged to deepen links and boost trade that last year topped 140 billion euros ($177 billion).
The premier delivered his speech in the northern port of Hamburg, a European base for 500 Chinese companies and the gateway for half of Germany’s annual trade with China, equating to 2.7 million shipping containers last year.
Li reminded his audience that China is a “driving force of growth and recovery of the world economy,” predicting GDP growth of about 7.5 percent this year, despite multiple global crises.
Just as important for China, he said, was job creation, raising household incomes and the “war against pollution.”
During Li’s visit foreign companies operating in China again voiced long-standing complaints about unfair market access, including being blocked from public tenders and having to form local joint ventures.
The premier said China must integrate further with its economic partners, protect intellectual property rights, enforce fair business rules and create “a level playing field” under government oversight.
“China needs to learn from other countries as well as the fine achievements of human civilization, and must combine these with China’s own national conditions, so that China will become a (hotbed) for creation and will be a huge market for the world,” he said.
Li said, China “must rely on innovative development, and we cannot do this without the rest of the world. The world also needs China to achieve prosperity.”
He stressed that for the Chinese economy “there will not be a hard landing, as suggested by some media.”
He added that “economic development is not a sprint, instead it is a long-distance race that never ends... there should be a certain speed but more importantly we need perseverence and stamina.”
Li is on his second Europe tour since taking office this year, which next takes him to Russia, where he will meet President Vladimir Putin, before he travels to Italy for an October 16-17 meeting of Asian and European leaders.

Germany: US calling European cars a threat is ‘frightening’

Updated 16 February 2019

Germany: US calling European cars a threat is ‘frightening’

  • ‘If these cars ... suddenly spell a threat to US national security, then that is frightening to us’

MUNICH, Germany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Saturday labelled as “frightening” tough US trade rhetoric planning to declare European car imports a national security threat.

“If these cars... suddenly spell a threat to US national security, then that is frightening to us,” she said.

Merkel pointed out that the biggest car plant of German luxury brand BMW was not in Bavaria but in South Carolina, from where it exports vehicles to China.

“All I can say is it would be good if we could resume proper talks with one another,” she said at the Munich Security Conference.

“Then we will find a solution.”

A US Commerce Department report has concluded that auto imports threaten national security, setting the stage for possible tariffs by the White House, two people familiar with the matter said Thursday.

The investigation, ordered by President Donald Trump in May, is “positive” with respect to the central question of whether the imports “impair” US national security, said a European auto industry source.

“It’s going to say that auto imports are a threat to national security,” said an official with another auto company.

The report, which is expected to be delivered to the White House by a Sunday deadline, has been seen as a major risk for foreign automakers.

Trump has threatened to slap 25 percent duties on European autos, especially targeting Germany, which he says has harmed the American car industry.

After receiving the report, the US president will have 90 days to decide whether to move ahead with tariffs.

Trump in July reached a trade truce with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, with the two pledging no new tariffs while the negotiations continued.

Brussels has already drawn up a list of €20 billion ($22.6 billion) in US exports for retaliatory tariffs should Washington press ahead, the commission’s Director-General for Trade Jean-Luc Demarty told the European Parliament last month.

The White House has used the national security argument — saying that undermining the American manufacturing base impairs military readiness, among other claims — to impose steep tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, drawing instant retaliation from the EU, Canada, Mexico and China.

Trading partners have sometimes reacted with outrage at the suggestion their exports posed a threat to US national security.