VW boss Herbert Diess warns of a tipping of the global economy and a confrontation with China. The basic attitude of the German government towards China worries him, he told the “Spiegel” on Thursday. “We need more dialogue,” said Diess, “the Chinese leadership can also deal with tough European positions – but you should talk about it – and you should understand the economic impact.”
The world economy is about to tip over: inflation, energy shortages and rising interest rates worldwide are extremely problematic. “Without the business with China, inflation would continue to explode,” said Diess. In Germany, “the extent to which our prosperity is co-financed by China” is extremely underestimated. If the Federal Republic were to decouple from this, “Germany would look completely different”, according to Diess, there would be much less growth, prosperity and employment.
Volkswagen recently came under massive criticism because the group operates a plant in Xinjiang together with its Chinese partner SAIC. The region is notorious for systematic discrimination against the Uyghur Muslim minority.
In May, the so-called Xinjiang Police Files were released, containing thousands of official photos of Uyghurs being held in camps and prisons. Because of the plant in Xinjiang, the Federal Ministry of Economics no longer grants investment guarantees for Volkswagen in China.
Diess explains that he can ensure that there is no forced labor in the plant. He is informed about this several times a year by Volkswagen’s joint venture partner SAIC. “I always had this location in mind and sent many of my managers there to make sure everything was fine there,” says Diess. “I still think to this day that we should stay there because retreating isn’t going to benefit anyone.”