German industry urges EU to take a tougher line with China

The major offensive is to ensure the next European Commission will take a harder line on China

BDI President Dieter Kempf

Ahead of this year's European election, one of Germany’s biggest and most influential industry bodies, BDI has called on the EU to ramp up bloc's defenses against what it sees as unfair competition from Beijing and urged companies to reduce their dependence on the Chinese market as concerns over price dumping,state subsidies and technology transfer mount.

In a paper published on Thursday, the BDI emphasized that German companies need China as a market, but also criticised Beijing for funding the acquisition of foreign technology through takeovers. The association also stressed that world’s second-biggest economy had been dumping excess produce such as steel, cement, and ceramics in Europe and had been using state money to allow Chinese companies to tender for work in the EU, while at the same time it has been blocking access to its markets. Thus, the association made 54 demands to Berlin and Brussels to help.

“Beijing should in its own interests further open its domestic market and properly implement its long-announced economic reforms,” BDI President Dieter Kempf stressed, continuing that "China is no longer developing structurally in the direction of a market economy and liberalism but is in the process of consolidating its own political, economic and social model."

One of the proposals state that the EU must create a stronger economic framework for its own internal market to bind firms from non-market economies to its own liberal economic system. Among the other demands is also toughening up EU subsidy rules. Companies that don't produce goods in the EU should not be able to receive state subsidies, BDI argued. It also called for more EU investment in infrastructure and innovation.

“For the EU, it is more important than ever not only to spell out the importance of its own system and values internally but also to offensively represent them externally,” said the BDI.

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