Germany must learn from China-Wolfgang Schmidt writes

Germany can learn from China’s experience in hosting the G20 Summit

German Chancellor Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel

I was honored to attend the recently-concluded G20 Hangzhou Summit both as a member of German delegation headed by Chancellor Angela Merkel and a representative of Hamburg, the next host city of the G20 Summit.

Angela Merkel
Angela Merkel

During this Hangzhou visit, I found several of similarities between Hangzhou and Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany. Both cities, for instance, are popular tourism destinations.

As the largest port in Germany and the third largest in Europe, open and internationalized Hamburg is also the engine of German economy.

During my trip, I was impressed by the enormous efforts China made to ensure the success of the summit. The well-prepared infrastructure and supporting services, for example, can provide a good reference for Hamburg, especially the hotels, cafeterias, the media center, registration process and the security checks.

The organizers not only did a good job in traffic management, but also applied high-tech equipment in security check work. The friendly volunteers at the airport and the conference also provided a satisfactory service.

My biggest impression about the summit is that China, as the second largest economy, has prepared itself well to address global challenges together with the rest of world on the international stage.

The Hangzhou Summit also stressed the importance of “innovation” and “interconnection,” in which fields Germany and China share promising cooperation prospects.

The governments and enterprises of both countries have realized the importance of the digital economy and kept close connection in trade and industry. For instance, many mechanical devices and automobile spare parts in Germany are imported from China while more and more Chinese enterprises are investing in Germany to increase value through technology integration.

Yet the two countries could still further their cooperation in innovation. In addition to state-driven innovation, I believe that the private sector is also very important. Alibaba, China’s e-commerce giant based in Hangzhou, is a pioneer in this field.

During the summit, Merkel mentioned her desire to include women and health into the agendas of the next G20 Summit. Meanwhile, the strategies of “Made in China 2025” and “Industry 4.0” are expected to be discussed as well.

In my opinion, the Hamburg Summit should follow the footstep of Hangzhou Summit in inviting many developing countries. With China’s experiences and support from the international community, I believe Hamburg will host a successful summit next year.

(The author is the State Secretary to the Senate Chancellery, Hamburg)

By Wolfgang Schmidt


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