German economy minister urges China to assure level playing field

On a trip to China earlier this week, Sigmar Gabriel urged the Chinese government to reduce barriers to German firms

By: Reuters | Hong Kong | Updated: November 4, 2016 10:25 am

Germany’s Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel said it does not see a level playing field for its companies in China and he has had no discussions with the Chinese government about the purchase of a German chip equipment maker.

Just days before he left for a trip to China, his ministry withdrew approval for Fujian Grand Chip Investment Fund (FGC) to buy chip equipment maker Aixtron, citing new security concerns.

“First of all we did not have a discussion on Aixtron,” he told reporters when asked about his discussions with Chinese government officials on Tuesday and Wednesday.

On a trip to China earlier this week, he urged the Chinese government to reduce barriers to German firms wanting to do business there and establish a level playing field. He reiterated those points in Hong Kong on Friday.

“What we need is a level playing field,” Gabriel said.

“What we asked our Chinese colleagues for is that we want to have the same conditions in China.”