German Chancellor Angela Merkel discussed China's plan to set quotas for the number of electric vehicles it wants on its roads in a phone call with Prime Minister Li Keqiang, a government spokesman said on Monday.
"The federal chancellor had a phone call with Prime Minister Li Keqiang. It was a confidential phone call and I can give no details," Steffen Seibert told a regular government news conference in Berlin.
Seibert added that Germany supported China's plan to put more EVs on its roads as long as the drive did not discriminate against foreign carmakers.
Germany's Handelsblatt business daily reported at the weekend that China would soften its stance on EVs after a phone call between Merkel and Li. It said German carmakers opposed the scale and pace of the plan.
Germany has been a sharp critic of China's proposed carbon credit trading program, which Beijing unveiled in September.
The program requires foreign and domestic carmakers to raise EV production or face severe penalties. The mandate will take effect on a trial basis this year, with strict enforcement beginning in 2018.
In an article published Oct. 23 in the South China Morning Post, German Ambassador Michael Clauss sharply criticized the program.
"This means that all foreign automobile manufacturers would be forced to hand over 100 percent of their technology to their joint venture partners, which are mostly state-owned enterprises," he wrote.