German Chancellor Angela Merkel met with Chinese President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao on Monday where the leaders signed an agreement to co-operate on energy efficiency and green technology.

Wen admitted it would be difficult to reach environmental targets as China ‘lacks the capabilities of rich nations’ to reduce emissions.

He did say that the country would continue to pursue the strategy of sustainable development and take part in global discussions on climate change.

“We have a much tougher task than Germany does,” he told a press conference.

“[But] we will do our best to tackle global warming and cut pollution.”

Meanwhile, China has also told foreign investors to pay more attention to environmental protection and energy conservation.

“China will strengthen restrictions on foreign investment in energy-intensive high polluting and low efficiency industries,” Vice-Minister of Commerce Wei Jianguo was quoted in state media as saying.

According to Chinese officials, the majority of ‘environmentally-friendly’ firms operating in the country have foreign backing.

There are some less scrupulous investors who see profit in China’s weaker environmental enforcement, however.

“We still see some foreign investors in China simply focusing on cutting costs and neglecting requirements on product security, environmental protection and the security of staff,” Wei said.

He said he wanted foreign-invested companies to attach more importance to natural resources, the environment, and corporative social responsibility.

David Gibbs

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