Germany’s first China strategy just dropped


Germany released its long-awaited China strategy on Thursday, as the EU’s biggest economy re-thinks how it approaches its top trade partner.

The strategy describes China as a “partner, competitor and systemic rival” that’s “changed” as it seeks more assertively to re-shape the world in its own image. So… Germany says:

  • 🚧 It doesn’t intend to impede China’s development, but
  • ⏳ De-risking is now “urgently needed“, particularly in “critical sectors” like medicine, lithium batteries and chip-making, and
  • 💰 It calls on German businesses to plan accordingly, as they’ll have to “carry the financial risk more heavily themselves” in the future.

German businesses have been pretty positive in response, saying the strategy:

  • 👍 Validates (and incentivises) what they were already doing, but
  • 🤷 Some say it’s light on detail and could curb entrepreneurialism.

And for its part, an irritated Beijing said:

Intrigue’s take: The West has dusted off various d-words to re-calibrate ties with China: de-couple, de-risk, diversify. So here’s another: disentangle.

Germany is entangled in a web of competing interests and concerns: human rights, Beijing-Moscow ties, EU unity, Beijing’s efforts to re-shape global norms, and China’s key role in Germany’s own export-led growth.

The sheer complexity of disentangling all this, while managing internal divisions (meticulously documented by China’s state media), might explain why Berlin was still tweaking the strategy hours before it was released.

But initial reactions suggest it’s done a fairly solid job of disentangling in a way that’s coherent, if not always concrete.

Also worth noting:

  • Germany’s strategy says it won’t be possible “to overcome the climate crisis without China.
  • Germany’s spy chief warned a parliamentary inquiry last year that “Russia is the storm, China is climate change.
  • Major German companies like SiemensBASF and Volkswagen have recently released strategies that retain a heavy China focus.
Latest Author Articles
The world just broke four big energy records

The annual Statistical Review of World Energy just dropped its 73rd annual edition over the weekend, but if you haven’t heard of it, don’t feel bad.

24 June, 2024
5 things in the inbox of NATO’s next chief, Mark Rutte

Outgoing Dutch leader Mark Rutte will soon become NATO’s new secretary-general, after his only competitor (the president of Romania) quit the race yesterday (Thursday). Marky-mark will start in his new role in October. 

21 June, 2024
The four most intriguing lines from Switzerland’s ‘Summit on Peace in Ukraine’

Around 100 countries wrapped up the two-day ‘Summit on Peace in Ukraine’ in the Swiss ski resort of Bürgenstock yesterday (Sunday).

17 June, 2024
Milei drags his reforms through the senate

With protests roaring outside, 13 hours of debate came to an end inside Argentina’s senate yesterday (Thursday) when Vice President Victoria Villarruel broke a tie, passing a package of watered-down economic reform bills, 37-36.

14 June, 2024