The German chancellor, Gerhard Schroeder, presided at the inauguration of FAW-Volkswagen's 2nd automobile factory on Tuesday. He was accompanied to the event in Changchun, in northeast China's Jilin Province, by Vice Premier Zeng Peiyan.
As a pioneer in the Chinese auto market, FAW-VW has witnessed the fruits of years of development, Schroeder said, as he attended the ceremony with a delegation of entrepreneurs from leading German companies.
Germany hopes that FAW-VW will continue its success in China, which will stimulate economic progress and maintain employment and investment opportunities in Germany, Schroeder said.
China and Germany have conducted outstanding economic and trade cooperation, especially in the automobile sector, Zeng said.
The fast development of FAW-VW has been supported by both governments and has become a model of Sino-German cooperation, Zeng added. The new factory indicates that cooperation has entered a higher stage, which will further promote the development of the automobile industry.
FAW-VW's new plant will double their capacity to 66,000 vehicles per year. This is expected to help maintain the company's market leadership.
Schroeder is scheduled to address a forum on the revitalization of the old industrial belt in northeast China's Liaoning, Jilin and Heilongjiang provinces on Wednesday.
During his stay in Beijing, Schroeder met with President Hu Jintao and top legislator Wu Bangguo respectively.
Both Hu and Wu expressed their eagerness to advance a "strategic partnership" with Germany.
Schroeder also attended the Sino-German Economic Cooperation Forum yesterday in Beijing.
He said trade volume exceeded US$40 billion this year and is expected to reach US$50 billion, making Germany China's largest trading partner in Europe.
It is Schroeder's sixth visit to China since becoming chancellor in 1998.
(Xinhua News Agency, China Daily December 8, 2004)