Germany's Merkel to visit China next week: Beijing

German Chancellor Angela Merkel will pay an official visit to China next week.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel will pay an official visit to China next week.PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (AFP) - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will pay an official visit to China next week, officials said on Friday (Oct 23), as European powers jockey for trade and investment deals with the world's second largest economy.

Merkel will be in China from Oct 29 to 30 at the invitation of Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, foreign ministry spokesman Hua Chunying said at a regular briefing.

Her trip comes after a high profile visit to Britain by China's President Xi Jinping and as French President Francois Hollande prepares a visit to Beijing next month.

The European Union is China's largest trading partner, but tensions remain over market access and alleged Chinese "dumping" of products such as steel.

European businesses - including German carmaker Volkswagen - in recent years have also faced large fines in China for violating anti-trust laws.

Many EU firms complain Beijing restricts market access to sectors where Chinese firms in Europe are free to operate.

On past trips to China Merkel has publically raised the issue of human rights, as the ruling Communist party continues to crack down on activists.