Green cooperation holds potential for China, Germany

The joint efforts by both sides can provide momentum for green development and the global energy transition by transcending geopolitical tensions and a zero-sum mentality.

1 min read
Federal Chancellor of Germany Olaf Scholz visits Bosch Hydrogen Powertrain Systems (Chongqing) Co., Ltd. in Jiulongpo District of southwest China's Chongqing Municipality, April 14, 2024. (Xinhua/Huang Wei)

When touring a China-Germany hydrogen technology cooperation project in Chongqing Municipality during his three-day official visit to China, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz tried out the assembly of the hydrogen power module and gave a thumbs-up to a staff nearby afterward.

He was impressed by the bilateral cooperation in hydrogen technology, which offers a glimpse of the broad collaboration between China and Germany in green energy.

Almost in tandem with the conclusion of Scholz’s visit to China — his longest bilateral visit anywhere since taking office in 2021 — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Tuesday once again hyped up the protectionist rhetoric regarding “Chinese overcapacity.”

Rather than viewing China as a threat, recognizing its contributions to the advancement of clean energy technologies opens the door to fruitful partnerships and collective efforts toward a sustainable future. The close cooperation between China and Germany can be promising.

Both China and Germany are the world’s major manufacturing powerhouses. The two have also heavily invested in developing electric vehicles.

Despite potential competition, Beijing and Berlin advocate for close cooperation rather than protectionism. This choice reflects their understanding that cooperation based on their complementary strengths fosters innovation, benefiting both sides and the global transition to sustainable transportation.

China’s strengths include its massive manufacturing capacity, technical innovation and significant investment in renewable energy infrastructure. As a leading global provider of solar panels, wind turbines and lithium batteries, China has shown an impressive ability to increase sustainable energy production while lowering costs.

On the other hand, Germany is renowned for its engineering prowess, research and development capabilities, and commitment to environmental sustainability. German companies are also leaders in advanced technologies for energy storage, grid integration and energy efficiency.

The joint efforts by both sides can provide momentum for green development and the global energy transition by transcending geopolitical tensions and a zero-sum mentality.

During his visit to China, Scholz argued that the European market must be open to Chinese cars, while calling for fair competition. Recently, the German auto industry has also openly opposed imposing punitive tariffs by the European Union on electric vehicles imported from China, citing economic interdependencies as a significant factor.

According to Allianz, an international financial services provider, Germany’s share of critical components sourced in China had risen to 22 percent of imports from 6 percent over the past 18 years.

Meanwhile, a survey by the Ifo Institute found that fewer than 40 percent of German companies wanted to reduce their reliance on intermediate goods from China compared with 50 percent two years ago. Despite all the talk of “de-risking,” Europe remains closely connected to China, and China still relies on many goods manufactured in Europe. The mutual reliance is a natural result of economic globalization and not a risk. The biggest risk facing the world is non-cooperation.

By confirming their agreement to work together toward the shared goal of sustainability, Beijing and Berlin can demonstrate the transformative potential in pushing forward sustainable development, and inspire more countries around the world to follow.

Xinhua News Agency

Founded in 1931, Xinhua News Agency is one of the largest news organizations in the world, with over 10,000 employees across the globe. As the main source of news and information for China, Xinhua plays a key role in shaping the country's media landscape and communicating its perspectives to the world. The agency produces a wide range of content, including text news articles, photos, videos, and social media posts, in both Chinese and English, and its reports are widely used by media organizations around the world. Xinhua also operates several international bureaus, including in key capitals like Washington, D.C., Moscow, and London, to provide in-depth coverage of global events.

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