Fritz Horst Melsheimer, Chamber of Commerce President, has opened Wednesday the seventh “Hamburg Summit: China meets Europe” underway from November 23-24, 2016 in the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce. In his speech, Melsheimer called for an investment treaty between the EU and China to be reached as soon as possible and within the next year. This would put bilateral economic relations swiftly onto a more solid legal basis.
Germany still China’s most important partner in Europe
Chinese-European relations are currently facing major challenges, stressed Melsheimer, adding, “China has to master a tremendous economic transformation to make this growth more sustainable. At the same time, economic stagnation in many European countries and United Kingdom’s vote for Brexit both shake and shape our bilateral economic relations.” Eye-to-eye exchange and open discussions were therefore particularly important, he noted. The Hamburg Summit had made a significant contribution in this area over the last 12 years.
In his opening address, former German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder highlighted the importance of German-Chinese relations: “In the last four decades, China and Germany have built a very successful partnership.” Germany continues to be China’s most important partner in Europe and Germany has opted for political co-operation with the People’s Republic in recent decades.
Schröder receives China-Europe Friendship Award
“Co-operation, rather than confrontation, should characterise the relationships between countries, even when their political and economic systems differ,” emphasised Schröder. “In today’s world, there is no country that can master all these new challenges alone. This is why we must intensify the strategic partnership with China in all areas – in politics and culture, as well as in the economy and civil society.” Schröder, who was made Honorary Chairman of this year’s conference, later received the China-Europe Friendship Award in recognition of his outstanding achievements in cultivating relations with China.