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2014 Business Review XV: Deepen Bilateral Relations and Strive to Forge the 鈥淪econd Rail鈥of China-Germany Trade and Economic Cooperation

2014 marked the first year of the China-Germany Economic Adviser Council (hereinafter referred to as the Council) to operate officially since its establishment. The Council focused on such five core tasks as offering advice and suggestions for leaders and collecting core concerns of enterprises, constantly improved its own mechanism and set up a new platform for high-level dialogues. The Council conducted positive exploration in transforming the functions of the government, serving enterprises of the two countries and promoting the practical cooperation between China and Germany, provided strong support for the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries and became a useful try of innovating China-Germany trade and economic cooperation modes.

When Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Germany in May 2013, the two countries jointly announced the establishment of the Council. The Council consists of business elites of China and Germany and is the first advisor system of bilateral economic cooperation between China and EU members and major economies of the world, aiming at building a channel for leaders and economic circles to communicate directly and becoming a high-end platform for enterprises, associations and think tanks of the two countries to offer advice and suggestions and jointly discuss the future of bilateral trade and economic cooperation. Premier Li regarded it as the 鈥淪econd Rail鈥for the governments of the two countries to deepen trade and economic cooperation besides the governmental negotiation mechanism. The Chinese Secretariat of the Council is in the Department of European Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Commerce while the German Secretariat is in the Department of Foreign Economic Policies of the German Ministry of Economy.

I. High-level dialogue platforms were established to guide the direction of China-Germany trade and economic cooperation

The year 2014 marked the most frequent year for high-level leaders of China and Germany to visit each other. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang visited Germany successively and German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy Sigmar Gabrie visited China respectively. Both sides successfully held the third round of negotiations between Chinese and German governments. The China-German relations were promoted to be an all-dimensional strategic partnership. The trade and economic relations of the two countries continued in-depth development and constantly made breakthrough especially in cooperation in such fields as investment, finance and innovation. The Germany-China Chamber of Commerce and the China International Investment Promotion Agency in Germany were set up respectively. We appointed the first renminbi clearing bank within the European Union in Frankfurt. Both sides published the Action Outline of China-Germany Cooperation themed on 鈥渏ointly modeling innovation鈥and regarded 2015 as the innovative and cooperative year between China and Germany. The Council firmly grasped hot issues of bilateral trade and economic cooperation, set up high-end, practical and effective platforms for representatives of enterprises and leaders of the two countries to have dialogues and exchanges directly, which were highly regarded by leaders and enterprises of the two countries.

When Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Germany in March 2014, the Council convened an unofficial meeting in Dusseldorf for the first time and Xi met with representatives of both sides and took photos with them after the meeting. When German Chancellor Angela Merkel visited China in July 2014, the Council convened a formal meeting and a colloquium between the premiers of the two countries for the first time. Merkel affirmed the sound tradition of the Council to continue the colloquium between leaders and economic representatives of the two countries, hoping that both sides could accelerate the implementation of the common suggestions of the first meeting. When Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visited Germany in October in 2014, some members of the Council took part in the activities to communicate with the premiers. The Action Outline of China-Germany Cooperation released during this visit reaffirmed the positive meaning of the mechanism of the Council.

II. Attention was paid to the core concerns of enterprises to consolidate trade and economic cooperation between China and Germany

Bilateral investment and cooperation between China and Germany has been getting more dynamic in recent years, and Chinese enterprises in particular have keen interest in investing in Germany. The Council has widely gathered opinions and suggestions of members by such forms as discussion, colloquium and questionnaire survey focusing on the core concerns of enterprises, analyzed and sorted out the appeals of enterprises and consolidated the China-Germany cooperative foundation oriented by serving the requirements of enterprises.

At the first official meeting of the Council, members of both sides fully communicated with each other and formed the first common suggestions to submit to the leaders of the two countries, including specific suggestions and core concerns of strengthening cooperation in such fields as China-Germany investment, innovation and finance by the economic circles of the two countries. Within the year, the Chinese members of the Council convened such colloquia as the 鈥014 Dialogues on Cooperating with Germany with Senior Executives鈥 鈥渢he Internationalization of Renminbi鈥and the 鈥淚ndustrial 4.0 and Innovative Cooperation鈥and participated in such activities as the 鈥淓xchange Meeting of the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone鈥and the 鈥淯nderstanding of the Two Sessions of China and the World Economic Forum of Tsinghua University鈥 In the 鈥014 Dialogues on Cooperating with Germany with Senior Executives鈥 executives of members of the Council conducted in-depth discussions on problems faced by cooperation with Germany and their solutions, jointly shared international cooperative experience and routes, formed a sound atmosphere for jointly researching, studying and negotiating on hot issues and consolidated a new foundation for trade and economic cooperation between China and Germany,

III. Construction of mechanisms was strengthened to increase cohesion and influence

In 2014, the Chinese secretariat of the Council repeatedly organized Chinese members to visit such places as Huawei, ZTE, BGI, Ameco, Weichai Power, Sino-Germany Ecological Park in Qingdao and Sino-Germany Industrial Service Zone in Foshan. The Council constantly improved the construction of mechanisms and gradually expanded its service scope by such forms as regularly holding meetings, visiting members and compiling the 2014 China-Germany Economic Cooperation, which effectively guaranteed the exchange and delivery of information, increased mutual understanding between members and expanded influence.

In the future, the China-Germany Economic Council will follow the principle of 鈥渂eing guided by governments and dominated by enterprises鈥 offer more advice and suggestions to leaders and promote the function of practical cooperation of members, and strive to create a high-end thing tank and a model service platform for China-Germany trade and economic cooperation.

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