Source: China Daily
China and Germany have further deepened cooperation at a regional level as another city has signed up for the Sino-German Industrial City Alliance at this year's Hannover Messe industrial trade fair.
The alliance was formally established in Hanover in 2016 with the secretariat located at the Foshan Sino-German Industrial Services Zone. Its membership has expanded from 18 founders to 43 cities, 23 being from China and 20 from Germany. The newest member is the German city of Bad Homburg.
Speaking in Hanover on Monday at the alliance's seventh general meeting, Zhao Hai, deputy mayor of Foshan, Guangdong province, said: "The alliance is an important platform for cooperation between China and Germany at the local level. With win-win cooperation as its key concept, the alliance acts as a bridge to promote collaboration and exchanges between member cities in the fields of economy, trade, industry and science and technology."
So far, more than 30 delegations from Germany, involving more than 300 businesses, have been to China, with around 600 Chinese enterprises making the journey the other way in search of business opportunities, which has led to several successful collaborations.
"With the strong support of leaders at all levels from both China and Germany, the alliance has expanded greatly for the last three years, continually growing its influence on the political and business circles of both countries to promote trade and investment," Zhao said.
In 2018, China was Germany's largest trading partner for the third consecutive year, with a total bilateral trade volume worth 199.3 billion euros ($223 billion), according to the German Federal Statistical Office.
At the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai in November, Germany had 173 exhibitors, with both the number of its enterprises and the exhibition area ranking first among European countries.
Wang Weidong, minister counselor in the economic and commercial office at the Chinese embassy in Germany, said: "The two-way investment between the two countries has remained vigorous and more pragmatic. While Chinese investment in Germany has become more diversified, focusing equally on quality as well as quantity, the German enterprises' enthusiasm for investment in China is not diminished."
In 2018, Germany added nearly 500 investment projects in China, and its year-on-year investment grew at a rate of 138 percent.
"The establishment and growth of the Sino-German Industrial City Alliance aligns with the current and future development needs of both countries," Wang said.
Meinhard Matern, deputy mayor of Bad Homburg, said seeing the positive experience that other cities have had with China made joining the alliance an exciting prospect.
"We have already had tourist relations with China, as we see many Chinese visiting our city, but we also want to strengthen our economic relations between Chinese and German companies in Bad Homburg, and the alliance is a good bridge to facilitate such connection," he said.
Meanwhile, the city of Dortmund has been given observing member status after expressing its interest.
Pascal Leiden, vice-director of Dortmund's Economic Development Agency, said: "We have been following this alliance for the last two years, and since last week our politicians have decided to be a part of it because they see it as a good opportunity for companies in Dortmund to have contact with China.
"With this alliance, our companies will find it easier to access the support, the contact as well as the network once they go out to China to look for opportunities."
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