The German government has approved the controversial sale to shipping giant Cosco
Germany has agreed to allow Chinese shipping group Cosco to buy a stake in a terminal at the country’s largest port in Hamburg, various media reported on Wednesday citing the German Cabinet.
The Chinese company will be allowed to acquire a 24.9% stake in one of logistics firm HHLA’s three terminals. Cosco initially made a bid for a 35% stake last year. However, opinions were split within the German government on whether such a stake would give the Chinese company, which was already the port’s biggest customer, too much power.
The German foreign ministry did not welcome the approval of the deal and drew up a note at a cabinet meeting documenting its opinion, Reuters reported citing two government sources. The note, seen by the news outlet, stated that the deal “disproportionately expands China’s strategic influence on German and European transport infrastructure as well as Germany’s dependence on China.” Sources said the economy ministry and four others joined in drawing up the document.
According to Euronews, Germany’s economic affairs ministry said the decision to lower the initially proposed stake was made to prevent Cosco from having a “strategic investment” in the terminal, and that the company would not be allowed to exceed the 25% threshold without a new government review. Under the terms of the deal, the Chinese firm will also be banned from granting itself veto rights over strategic business or personnel decisions.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz supported the deal from the start, according to German media. However, President Frank-Walter Steinmeier previously warned that it may be a step towards becoming too dependent on China.
“We have to learn lessons, and learning the lesson means we have to reduce unilateral dependencies wherever possible, and that applies to China in particular,” Steinmeier told broadcaster ARD on Tuesday.
The deal’s supporters say it will give Hamburg an advantage over its rivals. Cosco already holds stakes in several other ports in Europe, including Piraeus in Greece. As of September 30, 2022, the company operated and managed 367 berths at 37 ports worldwide, according to the Cosco website.
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https://ift.tt/7YGd2ZT 27, 2022 at 03:02PM
from RT – Daily news