|Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (R) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel meet with Chinese and German entrepreneurs in Tianjin Municipality, north China, Aug. 31, 2012. (Xinhua/Ding Lin)
TIANJIN, Aug. 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said Friday that China-Germany economic and trade relations have long-term and strategic significance, calling for both sides to facilitate market access and investment and create a level playing field for businesses.
Wen made the remarks after travelling with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to Tianjin Municipality to meet with Chinese and German entrepreneurs, following their co-chairing of the second round of Chinese-German intergovernmental consultations in Beijing on Thursday.
Reaffirming their consensus that Germany and China's current dispute over solar panel import duties should be resolved through consultations rather than anti-dumping proceedings, Wen said this principle applies not only to solar panels, but also to communication and other industries. "This is an important foundation of our cooperation," he added.
The premier said he hopes bilateral investment can expand in a sustainable and healthy manner. According to Wen, Chinese enterprises in Germany still have a long way to go compared with German enterprises in China, in terms of their business scale and number. Currently, Chinese investment in Germany is no more than 2 billion U.S. dollars -- a small fraction of German investment in China.
In regards to patent protection, Wen said the quality of patents is more important than the quantity, and all the patent catalogues should be made public.
Wen said China is not intentionally restricting rare earth exports, saying the country has and is still offering a large portion of rare earths on the world market. Rare earth development in China now faces many problems, especially in southern China, and over-exploitation will threaten ecology.
"I support China and Germany to cooperate on the development and use of rare earths as well as the utilization of high technology in this process. This is much better than filing trade complaints," Wen said.
He called on both countries to cooperate in cloud computing and to strengthen connectivity between China and Germany, as well as China and Europe, to speed up cargo transportation. < Merkel also pledged to facilitate Chinese investment in Germany and encouraged the two countries' companies to settle disputes via consultations.
In the afternoon, Wen and Merkel visited the final assembly factory of Airbus in Tianjin and attended a ceremony for the 100th airplane assembled by the factory.
Wen hailed the factory as a model of cooperation and friendship, saying China and Germany share broad common interests should further enhance cooperation.
Merkel left Tianjin after the ceremony and concluded her sixth visit to China since she took office in 2005.