Accompanied by a delegation of companies including Deutsche Bank, engineering group Siemens AG and insurance giant Allianz, German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder oversaw the signing of no less than 22 business agreements on the first day of his visit to China. An Airbus deal with Air China worth $1.3 billion (€967 million) and a Siemens deal to sell locomotives worth more than $480 million were two of the highlights of the trip. The high-profile contracts laid to rest rumors that China would hold back from signing new deals until the European Union lifted its arms embargo. “Europe has found a new partner for enlarging the multilateral world trade system,” Schröder, who has focused on promoting trade with China, said on Tuesday. Within Europe, Germany is China’s largest trading partner, and the German leader hopes the trend will continue in the future. A doubling of the current trade volume of around $50 billion a year by 2010 is very realistic, Schröder said at a meeting of Chinese industry officials in Beijing. Since 1998 German exports to China have increased yearly in double-digit increments.