Germany needs a more open discussion on how it can slash its over-reliance on China, said Germany’s acting Health Minister Jens Spahn in a statement.
“We have experienced and had to experience how dependent we have become on China,” said Spahn at an economic conference organised by the Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily. “This alone would be worth discussing on an economic summit on its own, the question of how we can at least become a bit less dependent on China again in the 2020s”.
Spahn, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, said the country was too dependent on China in areas including face masks and medical precursors.
Germany should do more to diversify its export markets.
“Is this a good thing to have such a high degree of dependency? I think the answer is no. You can’t solve this in a few years, it’s a challenge for a decade,” said Spahn.
He went on to add, the European Union and Germany should reduce their over-reliance on China by finalising more trade deals with other countries and regions including Canada.
The three parties working to form Germany’s next ruling coalition are at odds over China.
Greens co-leader Annalena Baerbock has suggested imposing tougher barriers for Chinese imports to prevent price dumping, and pushing back against poor environmental standards and human right violations.
While Chancellor-in-waiting Olaf Scholz has avoided making clear statements on China during the election campaign, his aides have hinted that Germany is likely to continue Merkel’s mercantile approach to China putting business interests ahead of moral considerations.