BEIJING, July 13 (Xinhua) - Trade and economic issues are expected to dominate German Chancellor Angela Merkel's upcoming China visit at a time when Europe is battling economic and widening sovereign debt crises, say experts.
"Against the backdrop of the global economic downturn and the eurozone sovereign debt crisis, Germany naturally wants more cooperation with China to weather the crises," said Feng Zhongping, director of European Studies at the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.
Feng expected the visit, from July 15 to 18, to bring new cooperation opportunities to the two sides.
"China is vigorously seeking progress in the green economy, energy conservation and emission reduction and Germany is technologically advanced in these fields," he said.
"The two sides could enhance dialogue, launch pilot projects and set up technology transfer systems between enterprises to tap potential and foster new growth points of bilateral cooperation." Mei Zhaorong, former Chinese ambassador to Germany, said trade and economic ties had always featured heavily in Germany-China relations. "They have, in fact, been the highlights of the bilateral ties."
China is Germany's biggest trade partner in Asia, while Germany is China's leading trading partner in Europe. Last year, despite the economic downturn, bilateral trade topped 105.73 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for more than a quarter of the total China-Europe trade volume.
Since Premier Wen Jiabao's Europe tour early last year, China has sent two trade and investment delegations to Germany. China hosts more than 3,800 German-funded businesses in major sectors, including environment protection, transport, chemicals, healthcare, auto and services.
Mei believed Merkel would discuss issues including global economic and financial development, promotion of world growth, opposition to trade protectionism as well as bilateral trade and economic cooperation.