“Dialogue instead of distrust”

As a representative of HHLA in China, Lars Anke has to come to terms with many aspects of local life. This is something that European partners should also do when dealing with China, the expert points out.

Many companies from a wide range of sectors have been intensively engaged with the enormous Chinese market for decades now, for example in the logistics sector. They have helped to develop Chinese ports, acquire stakes or have participated in other ways.

The Chinese market is complicated and not completely open. Therefore, market opportunities need to be carefully weighed up against the risks. However, we see that there is a willingness to allow HHLA access to Chinese networks. The same is true of the reverse. Chinese people often find it hard to understand the differences between the individual European countries and ways of thinking, or the administrative structure of the EU. We can help with this, resulting in a win-win situation overall.

One of the areas of focus in my work is on networking, informing and promoting an understanding for certain decisions. Admittedly, the geopolitical situation is currently very complex. The latest developments have also intensified criticism of the US and the EU in China. However, Germany is traditionally regarded as a reliable partner.

German expertise, our thoroughness and, above all, our roots in the complex European market are highly valued by our Chinese partners. Therefore, Germany should express its positions clearly to China and pursue its interests there. The implementation of national and European aims may lead to friction, of course, but a constructive relationship can be strengthened if we see each other as equals and treat one another with respect.

China is of enormous significance, and not just for Germany as an export-driven nation. All of us, as consumers in Europe, rely on Chinese products. Not only for this reason, HHLA should stay on the ball and continue its close dialogue with long-standing and new Chinese partners – only if we seek shared approaches to our problems can we look to a bright future with optimism.