China’s Economic Planner Courts Airbus and BMW, Despite Ongoing Ukraine Tensions

China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has recently signed a letter of intent to collaborate with several European corporate giants, aiming to repair strained relations caused by China’s perceived support for Russia during the conflict in Ukraine.

The NDRC announced this week that it has reached agreements with prominent European manufacturing conglomerates, including Airbus, BMW, Mercedes-Benz, Volkswagen, Siemens, and BASF. The signing ceremony took place in Paris, where Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury and NDRC head Zheng Shanjie committed to expediting the construction of Airbus’ new assembly line in the Chinese city of Tianjin. The NDRC expressed its support for domestic airlines to engage in cooperation with Airbus based on their specific requirements.

Furthermore, the NDRC plans to collaborate with other relevant European companies to deepen cooperation in various areas, such as electric vehicles, energy conservation, emission reduction, low-carbon product manufacturing, and new chemical materials.

The timing of these agreements coincides with Chinese Premier Li Qiang’s visit to Europe, his first since assuming office earlier this year. Premier Li used the visit as an opportunity to engage with European business and government leaders, emphasizing the importance of economic cooperation. The signing of the agreements between the NDRC and European companies took place separately in Berlin and Paris, underscoring China’s charm offensive in its efforts to foster closer economic ties.

While tensions related to the ongoing Ukraine conflict persist, China seeks to strengthen its economic relations with European partners. The engagements between the NDRC and European corporate giants signify China’s intent to mend ties and pursue collaborative opportunities, demonstrating the significance of economic cooperation in the face of geopolitical challenges.

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