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Chinese premier refuses to meet German vice chancellor – Welt

Robert Habeck has “no idea” why his appointment with Li Qiang was canceled

German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck, who is also the country’s minister for economic affairs and climate action, has reportedly failed to secure a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang during his three-day trip to China, amid escalating economic frictions that risk triggering a trade war.

Habeck landed in Beijing on Friday, where he hoped to meet Li Qiang before traveling on to Shanghai on Saturday – but was informed that the appointment was “not possible in the morning before departure,” Die Welt has reported, adding that Habeck has “no idea” why the meeting was canceled.

Instead, the German official will meet “a whole series of cabinet colleagues,” so his day is “full enough,” according to the publication.

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Beijing warns EU of possible trade war

Habeck’s three-day trip to China is the first by a senior EU country official since Brussels proposed new duties that could harm German businesses.

Just hours before his arrival, the Chinese commerce ministry warned that the EU could trigger a “trade war” if it continues to “escalate trade frictions.”

“The responsibility lies entirely with the European side,” the Chinese commerce ministry’s spokesperson stated on Friday, denouncing the EU’s anti-subsidy investigation, claiming that the bloc ignored the important consensus reached by the leaders of both sides.

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German Chancellor Olaf Scholz is greeted by the vice mayor of Chongqing, Zhang Guozhi, April 14, 2024.
German leader greeted in China by deputy mayor (VIDEO)

Beijing’s warning comes after the EU’s announcement last week of hefty new tariffs of up to 38% on Chinese EV makers, to which Beijing responded by launching an anti-dumping investigation aimed at certain pork products from the bloc. Beijing previously warned that it would target the EU’s aviation and agriculture sectors in response to the tax.

Habeck reportedly also expressed dissatisfaction with Berlin’s own China strategy, at a reception at the German embassy in Beijing, describing it as too short-termist and not in sync with the China policies of other EU countries. However, he reportedly had no high hopes that his trip would put trade tensions to rest.

June 22, 2024 at 05:21AM

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