Germany reviewing COSCO investment

The German government is reconsidering its decision to allow COSCO Shipping Ports (CSP) to acquire a stake in Hamburg Hafen und Logistik AG’s (HHLA) terminal in the Port of Hamburg. This is after the Tollerort terminal was classified as critical infrastructure this year. This could potentially reopen the political row over Chinese investment in the German economy, as it poses risks to national security.

The German Economy Ministry is now reviewing the conditions that would allow COSCO to acquire a stake in the terminal. In response, China has called for Germany to remain objective and rational in its review of the situation. China’s investment in German infrastructure has long been a point of political contention, with critics raising concerns over the country’s rising influence and potential national security risks.

In October 2022, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz approved CSP to acquire a 24.9% stake in HHLA’s terminal, despite opposition from within the governing coalition. However, Scholz’s stance on the issue has not changed. HHLA confirmed that its Hamburg container terminals had been classified as critical infrastructure at the start of the year, following the creation of a new category for loading facilities in sea and inland ports with cargo volume of 3.27 million tonnes per year.

The Federal Office for Information Security’s assessment of the HHLA led to no significant changes for the company. German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock is scheduled to visit China from 13 to 15 April. The US Department of Defense has previously raised concerns about the presence of Chinese cranes in US ports, including those used by the military, as a potential tool for espionage.

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