“If anything, the changes have made it easier to promote Germany”
Julia Braune –Chairwoman and CEO of the German government’s international economic promotion agency, Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) on the diversification
Amidst Russia’s war on Ukraine, how is diversification affecting the promotion of the EU largest economy? Julia Braune –recently appointed Chairwoman and CEO of the German government’s international economic promotion agency, Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI), has some answers.
Ms. Braune, since the supply chain disruptions of the coronavirus pandemic and Russia’s attack on Ukraine, diversification has become a watchword around the world. What’s the situation in Germany?
Julia Braune: The larger and more complex a country’s economy, the more it needs to avoid becoming overly dependent on single partners, be they suppliers or markets.
This lesson became particularly evident after Russia’s attack on Ukraine when imports of Russian natural gas to Germany became political untenable and ceased entirely. It’s impressive how successful Germany’s response has been thus far. The horror scenarios often envisioned in the press of major gas shortages haven’t materialized. Germany quickly secured alternative sources of natural gas, built liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in record time, and accelerated and expanded its already substantial commitment to renewable energy sources and energy conservation measures. It’s a great practical example of how diversification works.
Energy Policy – a great practical example of how diversification works.
So what can you say about sustainability as a central German economic issue?
The change in the name of the ministry GTAI works for from the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy to the Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action speaks volumes. Commitment to a sustainable future is now intrinsically linked with Germany’s economic prosperity. And with the strategy of diversification, of course.
This commitment is evident in legislation and government incentive programs covering everything from green hydrogen as an energy carrier to energy-efficiency technologies like heat pumps to dramatic expansions in wind and solar power generation capacities to electric mobility and electric vehicle charging infrastructure. And polls show that German companies – from the industrial and technological giants on down to the SMEs that are the backbone of the German economy – are fully behind the transition to clean energy.
Technological sovereignty is key to ensuring the smooth running of an economy like Germany’s
Another aspect of diversification is technological sovereignty. How is that playing out in Germany?
Technological sovereignty is key to ensuring the smooth running of an economy like Germany’s. The EU is keen to keep the availability of key technologies and components under the bloc’s control, and as the heart of the EU geographically, Germany is in the thick of this trend. This affects everything from batteries to microchips to solar panels.
What effect have these shifted priorities had on GTAI’s activities of helping German companies do business abroad and assisting international companies setting up shop in Germany?
If anything, the changes have made it easier to promote Germany as a business location. On the Trade side, Germany benefits from being a reliable supplier of the highest quality products and technologies. On the Invest side, the advantage for international companies to be on the ground in Germany are more evident than ever before. GTAI believes that we all prosper through international economic cooperation and exchange. That one reason we’re so happy the Hanover Messe has returned, and we’re very glad to be here.