On 28 April 2021, the sixth installment of the biannual Sino-German intergovernmental consultations took place. Due to the ongoing pandemic situation Chancellor Angela MERKEL and Premier LI Keqiang as well as the 25 ministers and heads of department met virtually. Among the topics discussed by the two heads of state were economic questions, the COVID-19 pandemic, and the state of bilateral relations as well as developments regarding civil society and human rights.
In preparation for the consultations, LUO Zhaohui, Chairman of the China International Development Cooperation Agency (CIDCA), and Gerd MÜLLER, Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development, had held preliminary talks on 27 April 2021. LUO advocated, among other things, that China and Germany work more closely together on containing the pandemic and promoting economic recovery. Likewise, the Chairman envisions bilateral exchanges regarding development cooperation legislation (from a donor perspective) and policy to be deepened. LUO also suggested that both sides implement trilateral cooperation with key Asian and African countries to provide a new impetus to the global fight against the pandemic and speed up the economic rebound.
In his opening remarks for the consultations, Premier LI highlighted the positive drive the biannual consultation meetings provided to pragmatic Sino-German cooperation. He further pointed out that bilateral economic cooperation has been intensifying despite the challenges of the pandemic. This would benefit not only the citizens of the two countries but also contribute to the stability of international industrial and supply chains. Given the ongoing challenges and changes of the international system, Premier LI also called for the two countries to set an example for openness, mutual benefit, and win-win cooperation by supporting multilateralism and free trade. Finally, he expressed his hopes for a continuation of the long-term, healthy, and stable development of bilateral relations in the future.
Chancellor Merkel emphasized the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and called for international cooperation in fighting the pandemic within which China and Germany could play a major role. She also focused on the political significance of the Sino-EU Investment Treaty Germany negotiated for during its European Council presidency last year. Beyond highlighting the opportunities for increased legal security and transparency the chancellor also called for a dialogue on ILO work norms everywhere.
Following the bilateral talk of the heads of state, the ministers of the areas foreign policy and justice, finance, economy, trade, industry, transportation, education, science and technology, health, agriculture, environment, and development joined the consultations. In total, six letters of intent and one action plan were signed including on the topics of environment and climate politics and scientific cooperation, health, development cooperation, and food security, transportation as well as work and social matters.