German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Chinese Prime Minister Wen Jiabao opened the Hanover trade fair on Sunday, with Wen promising his country would continue to open up its economy.
"As two of the most important manufacturing countries in the world, China and Germany are committed to working closely to promote dialogue and cooperation of the global industries," Wen said in his speech opening up the Hanover Messe, the world's largest industrial fair, which he called a "barometer for the development of global industry."
Wen said he would also work for fairer treatment of foreign companies and greater access to the Chinese market, after many foreign companies have complained of discrimination. Chinese-German trade last year stood at 144 billion euros ($190 billion), a number Merkel said she expected to grow.
From April 23 to 27, some 5,000 exhibitors from 69 countries are showing their newest innovations and technologies under the motto "Green Intelligence," focusing on environmental sustainability. Roughly a 10th of the exhibitors are from China, this year's official partner country.
Merkel said at the opening of the fair that China and Germany are at once "partners and competitors" in the global economy.
Outside the trade fair grounds, about 200 protesters waved Tibetan flags and shouted slogans criticizing China's human rights record.
Wen and Merkel are to tour the exhibition on Monday before visiting a Volkswagen auto factory in the northern city of Wolfsburg, where leaders are to sign an agreement to build another VW factory in China.
acb/jm(Reuters, dpa, dapd)