Berlin wants to broaden its commercial interests in Asia while becoming less reliant on China, German Economy Minister Robert Habeck told Deutsche Welle on Sunday. “We are, of course, interested in trade with China, but not in stupid trade with China”, Habeck said.

He claimed that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine demonstrated the dangers of over-reliance on a single country. He continued to say that goods from key industries such as telecommunications, electricity, electronics, and semiconductors must be secured. He added that this does not rule out the prospect of doing business with China.

Habeck stopped a Chinese investment

However, the minister emphasized that Germany must ensure its sovereignty in this sector, which is how he claimed the government is currently acting. Habeck barred Chinese investors from purchasing a German chip facility last week, claiming that the government needed to defend important industries from possible security risks.

According to Habeck, there may be some industries where Chinese investments would be “problematic”, such as ports, hospitals and airports. His remarks follow Berlin’s approval of Chinese state-owned Cosco’s acquisition of a portion of a facility in Hamburg’s strategically important port.

There is some work to do

The port acquisition was a watered-down version of the deal Cosco had expected, but it nevertheless caused worry inside Berlin’s ruling coalition. Habeck, who opposed the transaction, noted that the deal had been reduced in size. He would’ve preferred more limitations. According to the minister, a new approach is the only way to get this unity.