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China, Germany hold dialogue on climate change and green transition

By CGTN's Wang Mengjie


A high-level dialogue to promote cooperation on climate change and green transition between China and Germany was held in Beijing on Saturday. It was the first such dialogue since China and Germany agreed to establish the mechanism a year ago.

Zheng Shanjie, chairman of the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), and German Vice Chancellor Robert Habeck held the dialogue, and exchanged views on energy efficiency and carbon reduction.

'China to take all measures to safeguard interests of Chinese enterprises'

As China continues to promote green and low-carbon transition, it strives to peak carbon emissions before 2030, marking a significant turning point in the global fight against climate change.

The rapid growth of renewable energy is at the heart of this transformation, spurring advancements in electric vehicles, energy storage solutions and other cutting-edge technologies.

It comes as the issue of alleged overcapacity in China's green industry has once again become a widely discussed topic, with claims that China is exporting subsidized electric vehicles (EVs) to the European market.

When commenting on the so-called overcapacity narratives, Zheng said these are against market rules and economic common sense.

Protectionism will only drag down the global response to climate change and the process of green and low-carbon transition, said the NDRC chairman, stressing that China will take all measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises.

In response, Habeck said the world is witnessing a negative trend of protectionism that has spread around the globe, and some restrictions that limit production will hurt the global economy.

A series of achievements were reached at the Beijing dialogue, such as the launch of green transition cooperation among provinces and federal states in China and Germany.

Expert: EU tariffs on Chinese EVs 'trade protection measures'

For eight consecutive years, China has been Germany's most important partner for trade in goods. Germany has been China's most important trading partner in the European Union (EU) for decades, with the auto industry one of the most important fields for green cooperation.

Yuan Shenglong, deputy director and associate research fellow at the Institute for International Economic Research of the NDRC, told CGTN that the strengthened cooperation on new energy and green transition between China and Germany could bring more market opportunities in fields such as the manufacturing industry and the consumer market, especially when the German economy has been dented by a "perfect storm" of impediments, including weak exports and expensive energy.

Not everyone seems happy about such win-win scenarios. Earlier this month, the European Commission unveiled a preliminary decision to impose tariffs of up to 38.1 percent on EVs from China. They are in addition to the standard 10 percent vehicle duty already in place.

Yuan said the plan is essentially trade protectionism and violates the EU's policy of free trade. It will undermine the EU's own green and low-carbon transformation and the global response to climate change, but it will not harm the rapid development of China’s new energy vehicles.

Green is the distinctive color of China-EU cooperation. The high-level dialogue is expected to help expand common ground, enhance mutual trust so that differences will not become obstacles to long-term green cooperation, which will benefit not only China and the EU, but also the rest of the world.

(Cover image provided by National Development and Reform Commission)

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