Germany and China: A Love Story

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in ,, at 9/01/2007 01:00:00 PM
Well, not really. Here we have a group representing German commercial interests calling for Germany in particular and other developed countries in general to hold back from their China-bashing activities. As you would expect, the official Chinese news agency Xinhua lapped it up. Call it a "can't we just all get along" moment, but I hardly think that domestic politics in developed countries are too receptive to the free-trade message at this point in time as endless waves of Chinese products pile up on their shores:

German businessmen have warned against unnecessary fears of China stirred up by the recent media coverage of questionable Chinese toys, the alleged plagiarism of German car designs as well as a spying accusation against China.

"Germany needs to show more understanding for Asian countries like China...some recent discussion just fell short of reflecting the real truth," Juergen Hambrecht, chairman of the Asia-Pacific Committee of German Business (APA), told German magazine Star in its latest edition.

"Those discussions have aroused some concerns," he said.

German media, including the influential Der Spiegel weekly, have recently rambled for pages on the recall of questionable Chinese toys, the alleged plagiarism of German cars by some Chinese firms as well as the spying programs by hacking on some German government websites, an accusation that China has denied.

Some politicians even went so far as talking about prohibiting investment in Germany by Chinese state funds.

"We have no reason to prohibit investment by other countries," said Juergen Thumann, president of the Federation of German Industries (BDI).

As for the recall of Chinese toys, it is wrong to exaggerate the safety concerns of all Chinese products, said Andreas Bauer, a spokesman for TUEV SUED, an international certification group.

Germany is no exemption when it comes to the quality problems of certain products, said Bauer.

Germany has recently been hit by a string of "rotten meat" scandals that have aroused grave public concern.

In the latest move, around 150 tons of rotten meat has been shipped from the southern German state of Bavaria to Berlin companies making Turkish-style doner kebab skewers and then distributed across the country.

Wang Xuejun, chairman of the Association of China-Germany Economic Information, said German fears of China were largely aroused by the speculation that China is soon about to replace Germany as the world's biggest exporter and the world's third biggest economy after the United States and Japan.

Some politician used the "China threat" to divert the public attention on the domestic issues like high jobless rate so that they can win more public support, he said.

Jorg Walter, a 75-year-old Berliner told Xinhua that he has no doubt that China can make top-notch products.

Made-in-Germany, now regarded as a symbol of high quality products, used to be a label to distinguish German products that were generally considered "problematic" by British consumers over a century ago, he said.