Chinese premier Wen Jiabao is in Germany for the last leg of a European tour, with his host, Chancellor Angela Merkel, hoping he will confirm an order for dozens of Airbus jet-liners.
However, a spat between Beijing and Brussels over aviation carbon tariffs could scupper the deal. An expected order for 10 super-jumbos has already been put on hold.
Nevertheless, Wen’s visit to the UK did produce 1.6 billion euros worth of contracts, including a new agreement between energy group BG and Bank of China.
Wen also pledged to boost domestic demand and reduce China’s foreign trade surplus. That is welcome news to European countries looking for Chinese support to help lift them out of the financial crisis, whether by increasing trade or buying government bonds.
But for many, human rights issues come before trade and protesters followed Wen’s every move in the UK, despite Beijing releasing two prominent dissidents before and during the visit.