China looks to Merkel visit to boost ‘mutual trust’ amid global trade concerns

BEIJING (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel will visit China next week, Chinese officials said on Friday, at a time of rising global concern about protectionist trade measures undermining growth.

Merkel will meet Chinese President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang during the May 24-25 visit, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said at a regular briefing in Beijing.

Merkel’s visit would “further increase mutual political trust,” Lu said, although he did not say what would be discussed.

Chinese-German relations had been “developing well in recent years,” he added.

In a phone conversation in March, Merkel and Xi underscored the importance of multilateral cooperation on global trade, following a shift away from multilateral action by the United States.

Merkel’s trip will include a stop in the southern city of Shenzhen, home to several major technology companies.

(Reporting by Michael Martina; Writing by Christian Shepherd; Editing by Darren Schuettler)