German minister attacks China for lack of transparency

Germany`s economy minister slammed conditions for Western firms operating in China as the country`s Vice Premier Li Keqiang arrived for a visit to Berlin as part of a European tour.

Updated: Jan 07, 2011, 00:10 AM IST

Berlin: Germany`s economy minister on Thursday
slammed conditions for Western firms operating in China as the
country`s Vice Premier Li Keqiang arrived for a visit to
Berlin as part of a European tour.

Li, widely tipped to be the next premier, arrived for
talks with the minister, Rainer Bruederle, ahead of meetings
tomorrow with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister
Guido Westerwelle.

According to the German foreign ministry, Li will also
sign contracts with companies in Europe`s biggest economy
including car giants Volkswagen and Daimler.

Speaking in business daily Handelsblatt, Bruederle said:
"Improvements need to be made when it comes to access for
German firms on the Chinese market," citing in particular the
insurance and banking sectors.

"Foreign firms still complain about a lack of
transparency and predictability.

"On my visit to China, I often heard complaints that
important regulations were introduced suddenly and without
consulting the economic players involved," the minister said.

While Chinese legislation is increasingly in line with
international standards, there "are failures in implementing
this legislation," especially in the provinces, Bruederle
said.

He praised the Chinese authorities however for "taking
our concerns seriously and seeking to improve the investment
environment for foreign companies."

PTI