Germany seeks less China reliance after Russia 'mistake'
Berlin, Nov 23: German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Tuesday assured that trade diversification was underway and referred to Berlin's decadeslong dependence on Russian energy supplies as a "mistake" that would not be repeated.
His remarks at an economic forum hosted by the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper came amid reported concerns among German industries over Berlin"s approach toward its biggest trading partner: Beijing.
"With Russia we have seen what it means to become dependent on a strategic resource such as gas," Scholz said.
"The mistake of dependence as with Russia will not happen again," he said.
Germany has reduced its reliance on Russian energy supplies since the start of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Cutting reliance on China
Separately, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said on Tuesday that Berlin would limit guarantees for companies doing business with Beijing as Germany reevaluates its economic relationship with Beijing.
Policymakers would implement a quota, "so that not all German guarantees are aimed at one country, that is to say China," Habeck said during a trip to Paris.
"There will be an upper limit for investments in a particular country," with a figure of €3 billion ($3.1 billion) being discussed, Habeck said.
Habeck had told DW earlier this month that Germany needed to diversify its business interests in Asia to reduce dependency on China, noting that Russia's war on Ukraine proved the need for such a move.
German media reported earlier that a German government draft on strategy toward China was calling for more political support support in diversifying trade and securing key raw materials.
Reuters news agency quoted a business representative as saying that the tone of the document risked hurting German industries' relationship with Beijing.
"The framing is the problem," the representative told Reuters.
According to the reports, the Foreign Ministry draft calls for stronger ties to other economies and more controls on German trade with China, including so-called stress tests on material dependency.
"Stress tests would be another bureaucratic hurdle which only we would face, not our competitors from other countries. What's the point?" the business representative said. "Of course we want more open trade with China... but every world region has its problems."