US warns Germany and other allies against Chinese corporate control

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(Bloomberg) – The Biden administration is warning Germany and other European countries not to let China take control of companies in strategic sectors, a senior US official has said, pointing to a recent decision to cut stake of China in the Port of Hamburg as a successful result.

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The United States has sent a message through its embassy in Berlin that China has no controlling interest in the port, according to the official, who spoke to reporters on Wednesday on condition of anonymity. Ultimately, Germany allowed state-owned Chinese shipping conglomerate Cosco Shipping Holdings Co. to acquire a 24.9% stake in one of Hamburg’s port terminals.

This is just below the threshold considered a blocking minority in Germany. Chancellor Olaf Scholz initially supported the sale of 35% of one of the four port terminals by Hamburg Hafen and Logistik AG.

The official, who spoke as Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Germany for a meeting of Group of Seven foreign ministers, said the Biden administration, like the Trump administration before it, worked with European leaders to carefully consider investments in strategic areas. so autocratic powers like China don’t take control.

Scholz was due to arrive in China on Friday with a delegation that will include Volkswagen AG CEO Oliver Blume. US officials fear the German leader is tying his country’s economy too tightly to China, lest it create the same dependence that Russia sought to exploit for natural gas after its invasion of Ukraine.

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