Baerbock, Röttgen, Merz – Jamaica danger for your China business

The CDU/CSU and the Greens are unanimously pushing for a tougher course against Beijing. This entails high risks for companies, but many managers underestimate the danger – a case for the supervisory boards.

Annalena Baerbock and Friedrich Merz are worlds apart, but they both agree on one thing: Germany must change course in its China policy after the Merkel era. Baerbock speaks of more “toughness”, Merz of a more resolute stance. Fellow party member Norbert Röttgen is blowing the same horn, calling for “robust responses” to China’s expansion.

It is thus clear that if the trio gains more power, there will be an end to appeals and the dream of “change through trade” (especially since the FDP also observes the anti-liberal regime in Beijing with scepticism). Thus, a Jamaica coalition is likely to quickly agree on stricter rules against Chinese companies, be it in takeovers or state contracts.

Far East insiders suspect: A response from the self-confidently aggressive rulers would not be long in coming. Friedrich Merz has therefore already expressly warned the business community “not to become too dependent on China”.

Merz: “Do without business in the short term”

If necessary, Merz warns, “we must also do without business in the short term in order to maintain our position in the long term.” So even a declared friend of the economy is not prepared to make excessive allowances for the interests of German corporations and small and medium-sized businesses in the geopolitical competition between systems.

Mind you, we think this is the right thing to do in view of China’s increasingly aggressive stance. For it should be clear to everyone: The Jinping regime is working resolutely to expand its sphere of power in order to shape global standards for trade and digitalisation (in the sense of authoritarian values). Especially for the export-oriented German economy, this would be a disaster.

But unfortunately, many boards underestimate the growing geopolitical risks and undauntedly bet on expansion in China. Such optimism should put not only risk and compliance managers but also supervisory board members on notice – even if Jamaica does not happen. Because one of the three mentioned will certainly play a central role in the next government. And since the Merz admonition at the latest, no one can claim not to have suspected anything.