Brussels warns Berlin against Chinese investment in Hamburg port

The Handelsblatt newspaper reported that last spring the European Commission warned the German government against Chinese investment in the port of Hamburg.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has come under fire after media accused him of planning a Chinese investment project in the port of Hamburg despite his government’s reservations.

And the German economic newspaper Handelsblatt reported that the European Commission had issued a negative opinion on the grounds that such investments could leak confidential information about port activities to China.

The opinion of the European Commission is only advisory in nature, since the final decision remains with the German government.

The port of Hamburg is the first commercial port in Germany and the third in Europe after Rotterdam in the Netherlands and Antwerp in Belgium, and the Chinese shipping company COSCO is the first owner of Chinese ships.

Chinese shipping giant Cosco is set to acquire a 35 percent stake in a container terminal in Hamburg in a deal reached last year but not yet approved by the German government.

According to the NDR and WDR report, the agreement will be approved automatically if the government does not intervene by the end of October.

Schultz defended himself in Brussels on Friday, telling reporters: “No decision has been made on this matter. Before that, many questions must be clarified.” He stressed that this is not about selling the port, but about investing capital, and “this is the case with other European and Western ports.”

Several voices in Germany, including Foreign Minister Annalena Bierbock, have called for more caution in trade with China, warning that Europe’s largest economy should learn from the severing of relations with Russia.

Source: AFP.

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