Merkel to address reciprocal market access, IP security in China

German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks during a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin following their meeting in the Black Sea resort of Sochi, Russia May 18, 2018. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

BERLIN (Reuters) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she would address trade issues such as reciprocal market access and intellectual property protections during her visit to China next week.

The four-term German leader said both countries recognized the rules of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and would push for increased multilateralism at a time of rising global concern about protectionist trade measures undermining growth.

In a weekly videocast released on Saturday, Merkel said the discussions would also center on important issues such as the rule of law and ensuring equal access to each other’s markets.

German companies have complained for years about barriers to the Chinese market, and the theft of intellectual property. Germany’s domestic intelligence agency last year said industrial espionage by China, Russia and others cost German industry billions of euros each year.

Merkel’s two-day visit will include talks with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang, a government spokeswoman said on Friday. Merkel travels to China about once a year.

Her visit this year comes at a time of sharply increased tensions with the United States over its withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by six world powers, including Germany and China. It follows her meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin this week.

This time, Merkel will also visit the southern Chinese city of Shenzhen, home to several major technology companies, and the cradle of China’s economic opening to the West.

“For that reason it is also very interesting for me to visit this dynamic city, where many German companies have their headquarters and production sites,” Merkel said.

Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Ros Russell