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MERICS researchers discuss about China's economy

Opportunities and challenges of European-Chinese cooperation in times of a growing tensions between China and the United States were in the focus of discussions at this year’s Hamburg Summit, a bi-annually, high-profile meeting organized by the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce. The meeting on November 26 and 27 was attended by around 400 entrepreneurs and industry association representatives from Europe and China. MERICS researchers presented preliminary results of an upcoming study on China’s innovation surge and took part in a panel on EU-China investment cooperation.

As in 2016, former German chancellor Gerhard Schröder delivered the opening speech, acting as the summit’s honorary chairman. Schröder praised China’s “Belt and Road Initiative” as a “strong signal for China’s endeavor to build close relations with its main trading partners.” Angela Titzrath, CEO of Hamburg port operator HHLA, used the opportunity to promote Hamburg as the German terminus of China’s “New Silk Road,” a title also claimed by Duisburg, home of Europe’s largest inland port.

Speeches by European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, German Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer and China’s Vice Premier Liu He were highlights of the conference. The trade dispute between China and the United States featured in many discussions at the meeting, which aimed at exploring pathways for closer European-Chinese cooperation that benefits both sides.

MERICS was represented with two events. Deputy director Mikko Huotari participated in a panel with the title “EU-China investment cooperation – from record flows to reciprocity” together with MEP Reinhard Bütikofer and Chinese business representatives. The panelists discussed the rapid rise of Chinese investment in Europe over the past years and explored ways to create more harmonious and open trade relations as European entrepreneurs still complain about a lack of equal access to the Chinese market.

Max J. Zenglein, MERICS Head of Program Economic Research, and MERICS researcher Anna Holzmann presented the latest findings of their research on China’s innovation strategy “Made in China 2025” before Chinese and German journalists. According to their observations China has flexibly adjusted the 2015 strategy to internal and external developments.

China’s innovation offensive is currently influencing the development of key technologies and innovative industries around the world. It has drawn intense criticism in the United States and is seen as an expression of an aggressive technology policy geared towards shutting off the Chinese market from foreign competition. The power of China’s innovation drive is also being felt in Europe. The research results will be published in the format of a comprehensive study in 2019.

Here you can find an interview with Max J. Zenglein on China’s strategies for the digitization and modernization of its industry. You can also download a PDF version of the preliminary findings on "Made in China  2025"

The pictures in the gallery were provided by the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce. The photographers were Roland Magunia and Krafft Angerer.

Hamburg Chamber of Commerce - Event location of the Hamburg Summits. Main hall at the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce. Mikko Huotari at the panel discussion. Panel discussion with Mikko Huotari and Reinhard Bütikofer. Main hall at the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce. European Commissioner for Competition Margrethe Vestager, China’s Vice Premier Liu He, and German Federal Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer signing the Hamburg Summit guest book.