China, Germany Strengthen Trade

Chinese and German companies have signed deals worth billions of dollars, as Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao hosted German Chancellor Angela Merkel Friday.

The leaders praised their countries' improved trade before reporters in Beijing. Several heads of major German corporations accompanied Ms. Merkel on her trip, which follows a visit to Russia. German industrial giant Siemens AG signed an almost $4 billion deal with the Shanghai Electric Group to develop steam and gas turbines, while Daimler AG and China's Beiqi Foton Motor Company agreed to a roughly $1 billion joint venture to manufacture trucks, among other deals between the two countries.

The deals mark an improvement in relations between China and Germany, which cooled after Ms. Merkel hosted Tibet's exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, in 2007.

Ms. Merkel was expected to discuss climate change, the Iranian nuclear crisis, and other issues before leaving China.

On Thursday, she and Russian President Dmitri Medvedev oversaw the signing of billions of dollars worth of business deals in Russia's Ural mountain city of Yekaterinburg.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, Reuters and Wall Street Journal