Economic Minister Unveils Germany’s New Industrial Strategy

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On February 5, German Economic Minister Peter Altmaier unveiled the ministry’s proposed National Industry Strategy 2030.

The goal of the strategy is to offer Germany’s most competitive corporations such as Siemens and BASF reliable framework conditions and to strengthen Germany as a location for industry.

Most newsworthy among Altmaier’s proposals was that the government would be able to temporarily take stakes in technology companies to head off foreign takeovers. Details remain unclear. Altmaier stressed that such stakes “must not lead to permanent nationalization because the state is lousy at business.”

This possibility could have prevented the 2016 purchase of the German robotics company KUKA by the Chinese Midea Group, which Altmaier cited.

The National Industry Strategy 2030 touted the German government’s commitment to leading in artificial intelligence and their continued support for the battery cell production of electric cars.

The draft of the new industrial strategy mentions concrete companies whose lasting success is of importance in the national economic interest including Siemens, ThyssenKrupp, Deutsche Bank and major carmakers.

Altmaier wants to give such companies assurances that the government will take care of affordable energy, stable social security contributions and a competitive tax system. The Economics Minister also spoke out in favor of welcoming more national “champions” who could compete with innovators from the US and China.

As a next step Altmaier will discuss the industrial strategy with politicians, companies, associations and trade unions before it is officially ratified.