China: More market, less state intervention

German companies are unhappy about high market access barriers in China. Lower restrictions could appease critics in Europe, BDI President Dieter Kempf declared ahead of the Chinese Communist Party Congress.

Ahead of the 19th Communist Party Congress in China, the BDI (Federation of German Industries) is calling for more market and less state intervention by the Chinese government. “The economic priority of the Chinese leadership should be to reduce barriers for international trade and foreign investment,” said BDI President Dieter Kempf in Berlin.  

“We expect a fully level playing field for German companies in China. While we very much welcome the announcements of the Chinese government about more free trade and open markets, we finally want to see these words being put into action,” said Kempf. He went on to say that the country has undergone a remarkable development since it joined the WTO in 2001. “Sixteen years on, it is now time for China to really open up and conform to international standards.”  

Today, China is busily acquiring high technology on a global level and its foreign trade benefits from open markets. “While Chinese companies enjoy relatively free access to European markets, German companies still face high barriers in China,” lamented the BDI president. Market access is often only granted in return for technology transfer. According to Kempf, the new law on cyber security is making companies uncertain, threatening the protection of intellectual property and hampering German-Chinese cooperation on Industry 4.0.  

“A tangible reduction in the restrictions for German and European companies in China would do much to appease the growing number of critics of Chinese investment in Europe,” said Kempf. China became Germany’s largest trading partner in 2016. According to recent figures, the trade volume between the two countries amounted to 170 billion euros.