Last Updated on October 27, 2022
Germany has agreed to sell a stake in the port of Hamburg — one of the nation’s largest ports — to a Chinese company. Euronews reported that the German government had given COSCO the green light to acquire a stake of less than 25 percent in the port of Hamburg. This was lower than the initial plan of upwards of 35 percent.
Germany’s economic affairs ministry said the decision was made to prevent a “strategic investment” by COSCO in the terminal and “reduces the acquisition to a purely financial investment.”
Whether the Chinese company should have been allowed to buy the stake has been a contentious political matter in Germany. The move comes as the nation is attempting to lessen its dependence on Russian oil, leading many critics to question whether this latest move will simply be transferring that dependence to the CCP.
Lawmakers from the Green party and the Free Democrats, which formed a governing coalition last year with Olaf Scholz’s Social Democrats, openly opposed the proposal. Six German government ministries had already denied the Chinese company — which is the port’s biggest customer — arguing that the company could gain too much leverage.
“The reason for the partial prohibition is the existence of a threat to public order and safety,” the economic affairs ministry said. The current stake of 25 percent could potentially be increased in the future if the ministry approves a new investment process.
“Cooperation should be mutually beneficial,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin. “We hope the relevant party will see practical cooperation between China and Germany in a rational manner and stop unwarrantedly hyping the issue.”
The Chinese government has invested billions in its “Belt and Road” initiative, part of which aims to build infrastructure in developing countries and thus increases dependence on China.