February 6, 2019 / 10:57 AM / 4 months ago

Daimler, Geely in talks to expand cooperation into a 'bigger dimension'

Daimler AG CEO Dieter Zetsche speaks at the company's annual news conference in Stuttgart, Germany, February 6, 2019. REUTERS/Michael Dalder

STUTTGART, Germany (Reuters) - Daimler Chief Executive Dieter Zetsche on Wednesday said the carmaker is in talks about deepening its cooperation with China’s Geely, even as German politicians draw up measures to protect German industry from foreign rivals.

In October last year Daimler said it was setting up a ride-hailing joint venture in China with Geely after the Chinese company bought a 9.69 percent stake in Daimler and demanded an alliance, catching German managers off guard.

“We are in talks about other topics which have a bigger dimension,” Zetsche told journalists about the Chinese talks, declining to elaborate further.

Germany’s government on Tuesday said it could buy stakes in domestic companies, including carmakers, as a way to shield them from unwanted prevent foreign takeovers, presenting a marked shift in industrial strategy.

“Countries that pursue industrial policies tend not to be competitive, we did not ask for these measures,” Zetsche told journalists in Stuttgart, where Daimler was hosting its annual press conference.

Reporting by Edward Taylor; Editing by Michelle Martin

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