Angela Merkel and Li Keqiang get down to business


As mentioned above, Premier Li Keqiang met German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin yesterday, where Reuters says they signed “a raft of commercial accords worth some 20 billion euros ($23.5 billion)” involving German industrial giants like BASF, BMW, Volkswagen, Daimler, Siemens, and Bosch. Li and Merkel also made a bunch of friendly noises:

  • “Angela Merkel praised China for opening up to foreign investment, drawing a contrast with trade conflicts burdening both countries’ relations with the U.S.,” says Bloomberg (porous paywall), while Li Keqiang “presented himself as an ally in her defense of rules-based global trade.”
  • BASF signed a memorandum of understanding “to spend as much as $10 billion on a second chemical complex in China, its largest expansion project yet.” The plant will be 100 percent owned by BASF, and become the first wholly foreign-owned chemical factory in China. Caixin has more on the deal.
  • CATL Battery a.k.a. Contemporary Amperex Technology is China’s biggest maker of electric car batteries. Bloomberg says it plans to set up a battery factory in Germany’s eastern state of Thuringia, which “means China’s biggest maker of battery cells for electric vehicles is planting its flag in the land of Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW.”
  • “BMW AG will make Mini cars in China for the first time, sealing a joint-venture agreement to produce electric vehicles with partner Great Wall Motor Co. in the world’s largest automotive market,” according to a separate Bloomberg story (porous paywall).  
  • Iran nuclear deal: Li and Merkel “also agreed that they want to preserve a nuclear accord with Iran that President Donald Trump has ditched,” according to the Bloomberg article first linked above (porous paywall).  
  • Here are the Xinhua News Agency readouts of the meeting between Li and Merkel: English, Chinese.