‘Critical sectors’ such as telecoms, energy and chips ‘must be protected,’ German economy minister says in DW interview.
Berlin wants to diversify its business interests in Asia and become less dependent on China, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck said in an interview with DW in Singapore on Sunday.
"We are, of course, interested in trade with China, but not in stupid trade with China," Habeck said in the interview with the German media outlet.
He said that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine had highlighted the danger of over-reliance on one country.
"Goods that come from critical sectors like telecommunications, energy sector, chips and semiconductors must be protected," Habeck said. "This does not mean that there's no possibility to do business. But we have to take care that we have [our] own sovereignty in this field, and this is how we are acting now.”
Last week, Habeck blocked Chinese investors from buying a German chip plant, saying the country had to protect key industries from potential security threats.
Habeck said that there might be some sectors where Chinese investment would be “problematic,” including in airports, hospitals or ports.
His comments come after Berlin gave the go-ahead for Chinese state-owned company Cosco to acquire part of a terminal in the strategically important port of Hamburg last month. The port investment was a watered-down version of what Cosco had originally anticipated but still caused consternation within the governing coalition in Berlin. Habeck, who opposed the investment, pointed out that the deal was slimmed down.
"I think it's only a half measure, a half victory in a way," Habeck said. "But we need to have unity in the Cabinet. And this was the only way to get this unity. So it was a step forward, but not the whole way."