Germany has struck a compromise over a controversial move to allow a Chinese shipping group to buy a stake in a terminal at Hamburg port.
Whether the Chinese company should be permitted to participate in the port’s ownership had produced a political dispute as Germany wrestled with the consequences of its dependence on Russian natural gas, however, on Wednesday (26/10-2022), Germany’s government agreed to allow COSCO Shipping to acquire a stake of less than 25%, instead of the previously planned 35%.
Six German government ministries initially rejected it on the grounds that COSCO, already the port’s biggest customer, could get too much leverage. Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock had argued that Berlin needed to avoid repeating with China the mistakes it made with Russia. “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 (German President) told public broadcaster ARD during a Tuesday visit to Ukraine.