Germany must be more trade independent from China, minister says -news portal

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BERLIN (Reuters) -Germany's Economy Minister Robert Habeck wants to make the German economy more independent from China by focusing on alternative future markets, news portal The Pioneer reported, citing a strategy paper it said Habeck adopted this week.

The portal added that officials at the ministry expected Taiwan to be annexed by China by 2027 at the latest. There was no comment immediately available from the ministry when contacted by Reuters.

Germany, which has Europe's largest economy, is seeking to reduce its dependence on Beijing and is developing a new China strategy, but it could be a tricky task with deep trade ties between Europe's and Asia's biggest economies.

In the 100-page paper, economy ministry officials called for a diversification of trade relations away from China and a new "technological sovereignty".

"While China is reducing its dependence, China's economic importance for the EU and Germany continues to increase," The Pioneer quoted the report as reading.

It is open "to what extent the Chinese market will still be open to foreign companies", Habeck's officials wrote in the paper, according to the news portal.

The ministry proposed, among other things, a focus on "alternative future markets such as Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa".

China became Germany's top trade partner in 2016.

German carmakers are especially heavily exposed to the Chinese market, with Volkswagen making around half its profits there. Germany, and Europe, also rely on China for certain raw materials, such as rare earths.

(Writing by Paul CarrelEditing by Lincoln Feast and Raissa Kasolowsky)


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