German Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning a summit between Chinese and European leaders next year as part of its EU presidency, as trade and political relations between the two blocs continue to complicate, Reuters reports.
China is on track to become the EU’s largest trading partner by 2020, supplanting the position long-held by the United States. Investment into many major EU countries, namely Germany, France and Spain, also rose last year, although total investment into the region declined on a yearly basis.
However, some nations, including Germany, are wary of China’s growing regional presence. In addition to acquisitions by Chinese companies in sensitive industries, Beijing-led projects in poorer European countries as part of China’s Belt and Road Initiative have raised concerns.
“Germany should make China an important theme of its EU council presidency in 2020,” said the head of the German parliamentary Asia-Pacific committee, Hubert Lienhard.
Germany and China have also found themselves on the same end of a protectionist trend in Washington, which has targeted economies it sees as having unfairly benefitted from US trade.