Berlin, Jan 26 (efe-epa).- German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday commended the European Union’s investment deal with China as adding quality to the relationship between the two superpowers although acknowledged divergences on issues like human rights.
Merkel, in her final year as Germany’s chancellor, a position she has held since 2005, spoke at the World Economic Forum, which this year is being held online due to the pandemic.
The EU and China closed the investment deal — pending final publication — at the end of last year, wrapping up seven years of negotiations geared toward leveling the playing field and opening China’s markets to European firms.
“This has injected a new quality in the relationship between the European Union and China,” Merkel said. “It also opens up more predictable access to state of the art technology.”
She said the deal also “has a lot to do” with labour standards, one of the foremost issues raised by human rights groups with regards to the bloc’s deal with China amid accusations Beijing has subjected members of the Uighur ethnic minority to forced labor.
“Transparency is a second important aspect of multilateralism, transparency about what is happening within a country so as to allow you to assess whether trade is happening on the basis of a rules-based system,” Merkel said.
Chinese president Xi Jinping opened the virtual Davos summit on Monday.
He said global unity was key to overcoming the pandemic. EFE-EPA