It is my great pleasure to extend a very warm welcome to all of our guests participating in the "Partner Country China" showcase at Hannover Messe 2012.
Diplomatic relations between the Federal Republic of Germany and the People's Republic of China were taken up 40 years ago. Today we share a strategic partnership - a partnership made all the more substantial thanks to joint intergovernmental consultations. Our bilateral trade relations are also of great significance, with China being Germany's most important trade partner in Asia and Germany being China's most important trade partner in Europe. Last year trade between Germany and China broke all records, reaching a total volume of over 140 billion euros.
Chinese enterprises have built up impressive expertise in a wide array of technological fields - increasingly also with regard to developing eco-friendly processes and products. As a nation characterized by dynamic growth, China is virtually predestined to be featured as the official "Partner Country" at the world's largest trade fair for industrial technology. Chinese firms can leverage the fair as an outstanding opportunity to impress visitors from around the globe with their high-tech performance. The many new business contacts to be made at the fair will certainly provide valuable impetus capable of taking Sino-German economic relations to even greater heights.
It is in this spirit that I wish all participating exhibitors and visitors the very best of success in Hannover.