Pressefoto Dr. Robert Habeck Enlarge

Dr Robert Habeck, Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action

© BMWK / Dominik Butzmann

Vice-Chancellor and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Action Robert Habeck has released the following statement on China and the Xinjiang region:

“Again and again we see shocking reports of China’s treatment of the Uighurs. However, the information reaching us now about internments, abuse and forced labour is particularly appalling. There must be a clear international response and further investigation.

It has long been clear that, although China is a major trading partner, there are very relevant problems, not least when it comes to respect for human rights. For years, this was ignored.
This Federal Government, however, has changed its approach to issues relating to China. We are diversifying more and are reducing our dependence on others, including China. Safeguarding human rights is a greater priority.

For this reason, the environmental, social and human rights aspects of applications from German companies for Federal guarantees for investments in China are scrutinised very closely, in order to exclude the possibility of human rights violations and forced labour in the supply chain. This scrutiny also looks at whether the Xinjiang region is involved. Applications which do not meet the requirements are rejected.

We also examine Chinese takeover bids in Germany very closely indeed, with the necessary critical eye. Recently, for instance, we blocked the acquisition of a company in the healthcare sector. We also posed critical questions about purchases in the semiconductor industry; the takeover bid was then withdrawn. This shows that there are levers and possibilities, and that we are making use of them. At EU level, too, closer attention should be paid to state subsidies to Chinese competitors wanting to operate here in the single market.”