Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has said Beijing welcomes German companies to do business.

Li made the comments Thursday during a visit by Chancellor Angela Merkel that gives Beijing an opportunity to try to recruit an ally in its trade feud with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Both China and Germany are embroiled in disputes with Washington, though German officials say Merkel is committed to trans-Atlantic ties and isn't looking for new alliances.

Li, China's No. 2 leader, and Merkel also expressed support for the Iran nuclear deal rejected by Trump and the global trading system that free trade advocates worry is being challenged by his embrace of import controls.

Merkel was due to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping later Thursday. On Friday, she travels to Shenzhen, in southern China.