Chancellor Olaf Scholz of Germany tried to strike a fragile stability on a visit to China this week, selling enterprise ties together with his nation’s greatest buying and selling accomplice whereas elevating issues over its surge of exports to Europe and its assist for Russia.

Mr. Scholz met with China’s prime chief, Xi Jinping, on the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on Tuesday, the end result of a three-day go to with a delegation of German officers and enterprise leaders. He additionally met with Premier Li Qiang, as the 2 nations navigate relations strained by Russia’s conflict in Ukraine and China’s rivalry with america, Germany’s most essential ally.

All through his journey, Mr. Scholz promoted the pursuits of German firms which might be discovering it more and more arduous to compete in China. And he conveyed rising concern within the European Union that the area’s market is turning into a dumping floor for Chinese language items produced at a loss.

However Mr. Scholz selected a conciliatory tone over a combative one in his opening remarks earlier than he sat down with Mr. Xi on Tuesday morning, in a gathering that stretched for hours and changed into a stroll and lunch.

It was the German chief’s first go to to China since his authorities adopted a technique final yr that outlined the Asian energy as a “accomplice, competitor and systemic rival,” calling on Germany to cut back its dependency on Chinese language items.

Germany’s economic system shrank final yr, and its weaknesses have uncovered a reliance on China for development. Vitality costs have risen due to the conflict in Ukraine, which has been facilitated by Beijing’s assist for the Kremlin. German firms have pushed for extra entry to China and complained that they face unfair competition.

The chancellor visited German firms with intensive investments in China and met with commerce representatives and officers within the sprawling industrial metropolis of Chongqing in China’s southwest and in Shanghai and Beijing.

At a chat with a bunch of scholars in Shanghai on Monday, Mr. Scholz fielded a query from a scholar who deliberate to review in Germany this yr, who stated he was “actually fearful” as a result of the nation had partially legalized hashish. “Whenever you examine in Berlin, you’ll be able to run round the entire time and by no means meet anybody who does that,” the chancellor assured him.

However he additionally used the platform to push extra severe messages about commerce. “Competitors have to be truthful,” Mr. Scholz advised the scholars. “We would like a stage enjoying discipline,” he stated.

Mr. Scholz’s journey was an instance of the troublesome dance that Germany is making an attempt to do: sustaining financial ties with China whereas managing U.S. strain to align itself extra intently with Washington in opposition to Beijing.

In his conferences, Mr. Scholz highlighted Germany’s dedication to doing enterprise with China, however he additionally warned that Beijing needed to curb the flood of Chinese language items into Europe. On the similar time, he expressed reservations concerning the European Union’s investigations into China’s use of subsidies for inexperienced expertise industries, saying that any dialogue about commerce have to be based mostly on equity.

“This have to be carried out from a place of self-confident competitiveness and never from protectionist motives,” Mr. Scholz advised reporters on Monday.

China’s manufacturing push in inexperienced sectors like electrical automobiles and photo voltaic panels has touched off commerce disputes with Europe and america, the place such industries have additionally obtained authorities assist. However with 5,000 German firms energetic within the Chinese language market, Germany stands to lose greater than a lot of its European companions would if Beijing had been to retaliate in opposition to the European Union.

“If the E.U. goes too arduous in opposition to China, we may anticipate countermeasures and this might be a disaster for us,” stated Maximilian Butek, the manager director of the German Chamber of Commerce in China.

“For us it’s extraordinarily essential that the Chinese language market stays open,” he stated.

In his assembly with Mr. Xi, Mr. Scholz indicated that Russia’s conflict on Ukraine and its arms buildup had been excessive on his agenda. “They instantly have an effect on our core pursuits. Not directly, they harm all the worldwide order,” he stated in opening remarks on the assembly, a transcript of which was offered by Mr. Scholz’s workplace.

However he broached the subject with a nonconfrontational tone, not less than publicly, stopping in need of instantly elevating issues about China’s assist of Moscow’s wartime economic system, particularly its continued sale to Russia of products with potential makes use of on the battlefield. He stated he wished to debate “how we are able to contribute extra to a simply peace in Ukraine.”

China is hoping to drive a wedge between Europe and america by courting leaders resembling Mr. Scholz. State media reviews depicted his go to as demonstrating the energy of China’s relations with Europe, enjoying up its financial ties with Germany.

In his opening remarks to Mr. Scholz, Mr. Xi stated cooperation between China and Germany, which have the second- and third-largest economies, was useful to the world, a comment that might be learn as directed at those that have urged Berlin to distance itself from Beijing.

“The 2 nations ought to view and develop bilateral relations from a long-term and strategic perspective and work collectively to inject extra stability and certainty into the world,” Mr. Xi advised Mr. Scholz, emphasizing the significance of searching for “widespread floor.”

Beijing is bound to welcome the message that German companies are dedicated to China. The Asian big is making an attempt to courtroom overseas funding to reinvigorate its economic system, which has faltered due to a housing slowdown. Some Western companies and buyers have additionally been rattled by Mr. Xi’s emphasis on nationwide safety, which they regard as making it riskier to function within the nation.

From China’s perspective, Germany could also be its finest hope of delaying or watering down any commerce restrictions from Europe, stated Noah Barkin, a senior adviser within the China apply on the Rhodium Group, a analysis agency.

German carmakers have invested billions of {dollars} in China, and far of their income comes from there. Many fear that if the European Fee imposes increased tariffs on Chinese language exports, and Beijing retaliates, German companies will endure most.

Chinese language officers “know that German firms are closely invested and so they use that politically to affect political choice making in Berlin,” Mr. Barkin stated.

Germany’s greatest firms, together with BMW, Mercedes-Benz and BASF, have massive operations in China and powerful, efficient lobbies in Berlin, Mr. Barkin added. Executives from these firms, together with a number of others, traveled with Mr. Scholz to China.

“The availability chain in China is full of German items,” stated Joerg Wuttke, a former president of the E.U. Chamber of Commerce in China. “If China has a worth conflict with Germany, then nobody will earn cash anymore.”

Mr. Scholz additionally introduced alongside the German ministers for agriculture, the atmosphere and transportation, officers who consultants stated can be significantly concerned about working with China.

“You set an agenda with these three ministers, the tonality is general a cooperative one, these are areas that we wish to work on,” stated Janka Oertel, director of the Asia Program on the European Council on International Relations.

Chinese language officers, for his or her half, have dismissed the European accusations of unfair buying and selling practices, calling them groundless and an act of “typical protectionism.” They’ve hinted that they might retaliate for any actions taken by the E.U., saying that China was “strongly dissatisfied with and firmly opposes” its investigations.

In an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt, Wu Ken, China’s ambassador to Germany, stated the aggressive fringe of Chinese language electrical autos “depends on innovation, not subsidies.”

“The problem confronted by developed nations lies extra in the truth that Chinese language firms are extra environment friendly,” the ambassador stated.

Zixu Wang contributed reporting from Hong Kong.

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