- Green light to invest in Costco divides lawmakers
- No Costco control or strategic decisions
- China’s foreign minister: hopes for ‘realistic cooperation’
- opposition to the agreement within the coalition
BERLIN (Reuters) – Germany’s cabinet on Wednesday allowed China’s Cosco to buy a stake in a terminal at the country’s biggest port, in a decision pushed by Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Backed by Scholz’s Social Democratic-led ministry, the Cabinet has approved Cosco’s 24.9% stake investment in one of three terminals of logistics company HHLA (HHFGn.DE) at the port of Hamburg.
The approved investment is less than the originally planned 35% stake that the Chinese shipping giant and HHLA were aiming for and does not give Cosco a say in management or strategic decisions.
But the painful experience of being overly dependent on Russian gas has changed many politicians’ attitudes towards strategic foreign investment. The foreign ministry was so upset by the approval that it prepared a memo documenting its rejection at a cabinet meeting, Reuters said, two government sources said.
According to the documents seen by Reuters, the investment “disproportionately increases China’s strategic influence over Germany’s and Europe’s transport infrastructure and Germany’s dependence on China.” That is “a considerable risk that arises when elements of Europe’s transport infrastructure are influenced and controlled by China, and China itself does not allow Germany to join its ports.” is doing.
In the event of a crisis, the acquisition would open the door for China to politically exploit some of Germany’s and Europe’s critical infrastructure. The four ministries led by it jointly prepared the memo.
Scholz, the former mayor of Hamburg, has again asserted his will against his coalition partners, the Green Party and the Liberal Democrats. After single-handedly pushing ahead with a nuclear expansion last week, COSCO’s move has sparked discord among domestic and European allies who oppose Chinese investments and whom Scholz already sees increasingly isolated. is inciting
Scholz will travel to China next week.
HHLA Welcome Deal
HHLA, majority owned by the City of Hamburg and one of the port’s main users, welcomed the deal.
HHLA Executive Committee Chair Angela Titzrath said:
She said the company is working to find an agreement with Cosco on new terms in a timely manner.
In the first 35% of transactions, the German logistics company hoped to bring a longtime shipping customer to the port of Hamburg in the face of intense international competition.
Cosco did not immediately respond to a request for comment. A German government source told Reuters the Chinese company had agreed to the deal.
Asked about the deal on Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that China “required that the parties involved should reasonably (and) stop the unjustified hype for pragmatic cooperation between China and Germany.” I would like to,” he said, without giving any further details.
Supporters of the HHLA deal say it will allow Hamburg to keep pace with rival ports, some of which are also competing for trade with China, some of which are partly owned by Cosco.
Reporting by Andreas Rinke, Jan Schwartz, Eduardo Baptista, and Paul Carrel. Written by Rachel More, Kirsti Knolle. Edited by Maria Sheahan, Louise Heavens and Nick Macfie
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