China and Germany are expected to uphold free trade and multilateralism and create new opportunities for bilateral cooperation in manufacturing and innovation, experts said ahead of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's 11th visit to Beijing, which begins on Thursday.
Taking office for her fourth term, Merkel will meet with President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Thursday.
Bilateral trade hit $168.1 billion last year, up by 11 percent year-on-year, with Germany having a trade surplus of $27.8 billion, the Foreign Ministry said.
"China has been Germany's largest trading partner in recent years. Both countries should voice a shared stance against unilateralism and support for multilateralism," said Chen Xin, an economics researcher at the Institute of European Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.
China and Germany can enhance their coordination in the Iranian nuclear deal now that the United States pulls out, he said.
This year, China hosts the China-German prime ministers' regular meeting, but Merkel comes at a special time in a changing international scenario, said Chen Fengying, a senior world economy researcher at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.
Her visit is cast in the shadow of rising trade protectionism and the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal.
The outcome of Merkel's attempt in Washington seeking exemptions from steel and aluminum tariffs remains unknown.
China has reiterated its stance of further reform and opening-up, which creates new chances for foreign companies, including those from Germany, and is exemplified by tariff cuts for automobiles, Chen said.
In addition to Beijing, Merkel has visited nine Chinese cities, including Shanghai and Tianjin. This time, she will head to Shenzhen, Guangdong province, where she is scheduled to visit a Siemens factory and a Chinese business startup.
Innovation is key to the high-tech strategies of both countries, and Shenzhen has grown to be a frontier city in this area.