The German government will allow the Chinese state firm Cosco to buy a stake in one of the three terminals in the port of Hamburg, the most important container management point in the country, although it will limit it to less than 25% from the 35% that was being considered In the beginning.
The acquisition of a part in the Tollerort terminal, operated by HHLA, has generated controversy in the country, even with the opposition of the green and liberal partners of the Executive. It is feared that China could exert its influence over critical infrastructure. The biggest fear is to go from a dependence on Russian energy, from which it is moving away after the war in Ukraine, to get closer to Chinese financing. "The reason for the partial ban is the existence of a threat to public order and security," Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in a statement.
With this 25% cap, a "strategic participation" will be prevented, so it will not be able to veto business or labor decisions, and it is reduced to a "financial participation". Your weight may not increase in the future without prior review or authorization. After the outbreak of the war, "the lesson we should learn is that unilateral dependencies must be reduced as far as possible. This applies to China in particular," the country's president, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, warned this week.
Cosco is already the port's largest client and having a significant stake would increase its influence. "The cooperation must be mutually beneficial," said the Chinese Foreign Minister's spokesman, Wang Wenbin, after learning of the decision.
Along with the Hamburg port, Scholz's next trip to China accompanied by a delegation of businessmen from his country has also generated controversy in Germany, which resumes the practice of carrying out this type of mission of his predecessor, Angela Merkel.