China said on Thursday it would “open its door wider” to German businesses, helping visiting Chancellor Angela Merkel defend free commerce and counterbalance trade threats from US President Donald Trump that are testing transatlantic ties.
Germany and China, two exporting nations that run large trade surpluses with the US, have found themselves in Trump’s firing line and are scrambling to preserve the rules-based multilateral order on which their prosperity rests.
Merkel faces a delicate balancing act on the China trip, her 11th since becoming chancellor in 2005, as she seeks to show Chinese-German solidarity over free trade and the Iran nuclear deal without harming German ties with long-term ally Washington.
In the latest US trade move that has alarmed Beijing and Berlin alike, the US announced on Wednesday a national security investigation on into car and truck imports that could potentially lead to tariffs. The announcement hurt share prices of both European and Asian carmakers. China vowed to protect its interests.
Premier Li Keqiang, in a media appearance with Merkel at Beijing’s Great Hall of the People, said China and Germany both upheld global free trade.