Germany warned on Sunday it will not sign a joint statement at China’s Belt and Road forum if a pact does not include guarantees on free trade and fair competition, the German minister of economic affairs and energy said. The remarks by Brigitte Zypries came as leaders from 29 countries gathered for the forum, Reuters reports. A communique is expected to be published on Monday when it ends. “If these demands are not met, then we cannot sign. We’ll see what happens tomorrow,” she said in a briefing with the press on the sidelines of the gathering. The draft communique backed “upholding the rules-based, transparent, non-discriminatory, open and inclusive multilateral trading system with the WTO at its core.” Some Western diplomats have expressed unease about both the summit and the plan as a whole, seeing it as an attempt to promote Chinese influence globally. They are also concerned about transparency and access for foreign firms to the scheme.
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