EU-China decoupling: Volkswagen chairman Herbert Diess says Brussels needs more cooperation with Beijing
- Herbert Diess says it would be ‘very damaging if Germany or the EU wanted to decouple from China’
- Volkswagen chairman calls for cooperation, dialogue and an expansion of economic relations
Volkswagen AG’s top executive Herbert Diess has warned Europe against decoupling with China and called for more cooperation, as economic relations between major Western countries and Beijing turn sour.
“It would be very damaging if Germany or the EU wanted to decouple from China,” Diess wrote on social media platform LinkedIn on Monday.
“As a global company, we will never stop advocating for globalisation, a multilateral rules-based trading system and engagement.
“We need more cooperation and presence in China, not less!”
The world’s second largest economy is leveraging its huge domestic market to gain as much support as it can, as hawks in Washington and Brussels call for further decoupling to ensure the supply of critical products, which were exposed as vulnerable to disruption during the pandemic.
China, with a middle-income population of 400 million, is the world’s largest auto market, with 2020 sales totalling 25.3 million units, including 1.3 million new energy vehicles, according to the China Association of Automobile Manufacturers.
But Deiss said the German car maker, which owns joint ventures in Shanghai and Changchun respectively, still achieved “good results” due to sales optimisation.
Volkswagen Group China together with its onshore joint ventures delivered about 1.85 million vehicles to the mainland and Hong Kong in the first half of this year, an increase of 16.2 per cent year on year. Its high-end brands Audi and Porsche set new sales records in that period.
It has significantly raised its sales targets for China after Beijing said it aimed to double its new energy vehicle market next year.
“We have to use the Chinese speed and local technology platforms to remain worldwide relevant,” Diess said in the message.
“On the political side we need cooperation, dialogue, international collaboration and an expansion of our economic relations.”
Speaking at the Global CEO Council, the Chinese Premier pledged to create a market-oriented and law-based business environment, strictly protect intellectual property rights, and treat domestic and foreign companies equally and fairly.
“We’ll make China an attractive investment destination,” Li said.
China utilised US$157.2 billion of foreign direct investment in the first 11 months, an increase of 21.4 per cent from a year earlier, according to the Ministry of Commerce.