We have to be quicker, smarter, better

Chinese Firms Now Hold Stakes In Over Canada Goose sale A Dozen European Ports

For decades, whenever stevedore Giorgos Nouchoutidis arrived for work at the port of Piraeus, he would breathe in the fresh, briny sea breeze and feel a surge of pride.

This port has long been a metaphor for Greece. It’s where ancient canada goose uk shop warriors in triremes set off for battle and where refugees in fishing boats arrived in the early 20th century, fleeing the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It’s also where Hollywood docked to film the 1960 movie Never on Sunday. The film’s Oscar winning theme song is a love anthem to the port.”It’s a canada goose outlet new Canada Goose Coats On Sale york city blessed location,” says Nouchoutidis, 67, reminiscing in his living room, under a watercolor painting of a ship. “It’s across from the Suez Canal. It’s deep Canada Goose Jackets enough for big ships. And it’s my home. My father worked here,” he says. “We didn’t have machines back then. We used to load everything onto the boats with our own hands bags of clothes, leather goods canada goose outlet black friday and knitwear made in Greece, all bound for North America and Australia.”

But by the time Nouchoutidis retired, in 2010, the port was about to take on a new identity: China’s main gateway to Europe. That’s the canada goose coats year the state owned China Ocean Shipping Co., known as COSCO, started buying stakes in the port of Piraeus. Six years later, the company controlled the port. China is the European Union’s biggest source of imports and its second largest export market, adding up to more than $1 billion in trade per day. And sea shipping outweighs rail or air freight.

But this is about more canada goose outlet sale than official canada goose outlet just moving canada goose outlet toronto factory cargo, analysts say. President Xi Jinping’s new silk road, named after the ancient trade route, has sped up China’s advance toward becoming a superpower of the seas, spreading not just commercial ships but naval power and influence to more and more areas of the world.

For instance, Chinese investments in the ports of Djibouti, Sri Lanka and Pakistan have been followed by Chinese naval deployments. While there are no public plans to canada goose outlet in usa turn https://www.mild-und-leise.de canada goose outlet parka European ports into Beijing’s military bases, Chinese warships have already paid a friendly visit to canada canada goose outlet goose outlet Canada Goose Online reviews Greece’s Piraeus port.

This all raises a slew of questions about issues ranging from military defense to labor conditions.

“The main uk canada goose outlet issue is for Europe to decide how it wants to deal with China’s influence,” says Frans Paul van der Putten, a China expert at the Netherlands Institute of International Relations. “What degree of China’s influence is unavoidable and acceptable especially in sectors such as ports?”

“Surround it and squeeze it”

The port investment spree has already unsettled EU leadership.

In September 2017, European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker proposed for foreign state owned companies that want “to purchase a European harbor, part of our energy infrastructure or a defense technology firm.”

“It is a political responsibility to know what is going on in our own backyard so we can protect our collective security,” Juncker said.

Europe often sends Beijing mixed messages by welcoming trade deals while criticizing China’s human rights record.

But last year, the EU failed to unite around a statement condemning China’s crackdown on activists and dissidents. That’s because Greece blocked the resolution, calling the criticism of China “unconstructive.”

Some analysts suggest that was a sign that China has gained political sway with canada goose outlet shop its Greek port purchase.

“There’s a phrase, ‘pre emptive obedience,’ that’s often used to discuss relations with the Chinese,” canada goose outlet says Theresa Fallon, a China analyst in Brussels. “It means making decisions with the idea of not upsetting China. That’s already happening, and it’s worrying if you consider the stakes. If you think of China’s growth strategy [in maritime ports], they’ve invested all along the peripheries of Europe. So it’s like an anaconda canada goose outlet strategy: Surround it and squeeze it.”

Others are less alarmed but note China’s power.

“I think we should be aware of the fact that the Chinese are using the moment and the ability that canada goose uk black friday Europe is giving China,” says Arthur van Dijk, president of the Dutch Association for Transport and Logistics. “For us, it’s also a wake up call. We have to be quicker, smarter, better.”

Labor concerns at the fastest growing port

COSCO, with the world’s fourth largest container shipping fleet, is leading the charge in Europe, beginning with Piraeus. It is now in charge of container terminals, cruise ship piers and ferry quays.

“A few years ago, when COSCO first became involved in Greece, the European view was it was good because Greece was in a lot of financial difficulties and at least someone wanted to invest there,” van der Putten says. “Piraeus was not a top ranking port. People in Brussels thought it canada goose black friday sale wouldn’t have a lot of significance.”

Today, about 20 million passengers go through Piraeus each year. Since COSCO’s takeover, it has become, according to the industry news outlet Seatrade Maritime. COSCO’S chief executive in Piraeus, Capt. Fu Cheng Qiu, says.

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