China is starting to P.O. its business-partner allies in Europe

The recent weather balloon incident over the United States isn't likely to burnish China's image among its business-partner allies in Europe, who are part of China's vaunted "Belt and Road" initiative.

Over in Germany, according to a Nikkei/Financial Times piece, things are kind of getting bad:

“The Silk Road has not developed for us,” [Trucking school owner Suad]Durakovic told Nikkei Asia. “First it was Covid, then it was the Ukraine war, so the boom is no longer about Silk Road logistics.”

Duisburg, a city of half a million people, is located in Germany’s industrial heartland at the junction of the Rhine and Ruhr rivers. A downturn in the country’s steel and coal industries in the 1990s and early 2000s battered its economy.

But the city found a saviour in Chinese president Xi Jinping, who visited Duisburg in 2014 to officially make its inland port Europe’s main Belt and Road hub. While this fuelled anticipation of a new heyday, recent events suggest the prospects are dimming.

China was supposed to be the new thing, the wave of the future, the counterweight to the vast American influence in the region, but all the Germans are seeing from the Chicoms is a lot of me-first-ism, meaning, they don't see business partners the same way Germans see business partners, which is a relationship of equals.

The trade deficit with China, for one, has gapped sharply higher since 2020. In that year. Germany exported $106 billion to China and China exported $112 billion to Germany. The FT chart shows that it's now considerably higher, in the neighborhood of just under $200 billion in imports to Germany and only about $110 billion, based on a visual take from the chart. That's a very sharp gap in a very short period of time.

The Chicoms aren't creating jobs as expected, either. The FT describes how Chinese companies hanging out shingles are selling their products exclusively to Chinese customers back in China, and proudly stamping Made in Germany on them, which doesn't do much for the German economy given that the Chicoms keep all the profits.

The Chinese student population of about 2,000 in Duisberg isn't doing Germany much good either, because Chinese minders keep all Chinese students herded together in Duisberg, so there isn't much of an exchange of ideas, which is what the Germans had hoped for -- and which the Germans have seen from other Asian populations, according to the FT/Nikkei piece. The Chinese students don't have the freedom of movement for the open exchange of ideas, so they have become a sort of student ghetto instead. The Germans didn't bargain for that, either.

Lastly, the Germans are not happy about China's propensity to play footsie with Russia as they scrimp and save to help Ukraine beat the monster off. That throws more fat on the fire in the Germany-China tensions faceoff.

What it shows here that for all of China's high-and-mighty muscle-flexing, it's starting to annoy its best-disposed allies who don't like the me-first attitudes they are seeing from the Chicoms. It ought to not be a surprise as it serves as a reflection on the regime itself, which is no friend to anyone, despite its phony public relations narratives. They are an imperial power with ambitions of besting others and don't see their partners as equals, only things to be exploited.

Well, now the Germans are catching on. Word gets around, something a lot of third world countries in hock to China's "Belt and Road" could have told them first. Welcome aboard.  

Hat tip: Ed Lasky

Image: David Liuzzo, Fry1989, et al. via Wikimedia Commons / CC0 public domain

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