Editorial: Habeck's "naive theory of China" is actually quite nonsense
2022-09-23: [Article Link] Source: Global Times
After last week’s Group of Seven (G-7) Ministerial Conference on Trade and Trade, Harback declared that Germany’s “nostalgia” over China was over, and that his own Ministry of Economy was developing new trade policies for China, including measures such as enhanced investment censorship, to reduce its “dependence” on Chinese markets and products. Clearly, he has his “old-fashioned” side, and he captures the “hard-line demand” of some people in Europe and America. But one economic minister admits that his country was “nature” and continues to benefit from this “nature” not only without logic, but even low-levelness. In the case of the motor vehicle industry, which is the first pillar of the German economy alone, popular motor vehicles account for 49 per cent of total sales in China, with Audi, Benz and BMW accounting for 42 per cent, 36 per cent and 34 per cent, respectively. What does this mean for Germany? It means that the Chinese market sustains big German firms from the bottom line of the “inner volume” and that ordinary German workers work 35 hours a week to secure high-paying benefits, and more so that the German manufacturing sector, known as the “workshops”, is in a stronger position. At the same time, more than one-tenth of Germany’s imports come from China, as a result of which German citizens buy large quantities of cheap and good goods. These accounts are not difficult to calculate, and the benefits they bring to the Germans are real. Indeed, even some Western media who have tried to magnify Haback’s rhetoric have had to mention that, over the past six years, China has continued to be Germany’s largest trading partner, with German bilateral trade of US$ 235.12 billion in mid-2021, an increase of 22.5 per cent over the previous six years. In the first half of 2022, Germany’s direct investment in China reached an all-time high of €10 billion, and its imports from China increased by 46% as compared to the previous year. Harbeck’s “complementarity” of the Chinese-German economy, interpreted deliberately as Germany’s unilateral “excessive dependence on China,” ignored the argument that, in the context of globalization, the interlocking industrial chain and interdependence would contribute to greater stability in bilateral relations. Both the past and the reality of China-China's economic and trade cooperation make it “no longer naive” for the Habeks to cry out to China. That is why many industry organizations, such as the German Automotive Association, the German Association of Metals and Electrical Employers, and many German companies have clearly criticized the deterioration of China-China trade and economic cooperation as “politically and economically naive and deadly”. The German economy in its present state of economic hardship, which is clearly contrary to the interests of the German State, cannot be helped by a sweating of the German economy under his control. One of the main pretexts behind the “reduced dependence on China” advocated by the Halbecks is to reduce risk through trade diversification. But “diversity” should not become “politicized,” especially economic and trade cooperation with China, and should not become a major disaster for individual political parties and certain politicians. Needless to say, there will always be differences and differences between the two countries, but the differences and differences between China and Germany today are no greater than they were 50 years ago. In the past, China and Germany successfully managed differences, expanded cooperation, and benefited from them. Perhaps this is what was seen when Prime Minister Scholtz, in response to the radical statements of Harbek, said “to oppose all those who now advocate the idea of de-globalization” and “we will not do so”. We hope that this rational and pragmatic voice will always prevail, because they are responsive to the trend of economic globalization and to the interests of Germany as a whole, as opposed to those political actors who are intoxicated with political performances and gain political self-interest. This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the founding of China and Germany, where bilateral trade has grown more than 800 times over the past 50 years, and where mutual development and mutual achievements have been achieved through sustained deepening of practical cooperation, the key is adherence to mutual respect and win-win cooperation. We hope that the Halbecks will have some sense of history and sense of responsibility to truly take stock of historical experience and respect objective norms, rather than to drive their “battles” in ideological and confrontational thinking, which is not good for anyone.