27 October 2009 15:01 [Source: ICIS news]
TORONTO (ICIS news)--Germany’s coalition agreement between Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats and the pro-business Free Democrats offers support for the country’s chemicals and biofuels industries, trade groups said on Tuesday.
Frankfurt-based chemical producers association Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) said the coalition pact had set necessary signals to strengthen ?xml:namespace>
VCI general manager Utz Tillman pointed in particular to the new government’s commitment to promote the development of nanotechnology, as well as tax measures and relief to support investment in research and development.
But he also said that the government was still facing major challenges to put in place conditions for sustainable growth following the economic crisis.
VDB general manager Elmar Bauman said that the policies announced by Merkel's new coalition government offered
Also important was an agreement on sustainability rules for Germany-based biofuels production, which stipulated that bioethanol and biodiesel would need to emit at least 35% less carbon dioxide than fossil fuels, he said.
The main beneficiaries of the agreement included
Michael Vassiliadis, the head of
“Critical decisions have been put off and much remains unclear,” he said, adding that this could create uncertainty among workers and companies.
One key uncertainty was that it remained unclear if the coalition government would continue to extend subsidised short-time working schemes into the New Year, he said.
The schemes, which have been widely used by chemicals producers, had enabled firms to retain staff and avoid lay-offs during the crisis.
In addition, Vassiliadis said the coalition was making “vague promises” to cut taxes, but had left open the question of how it planned to consolidate its finances.
But Vassiliadis, who had earlier voiced concerns about plans by the Free Democrats to cut back workers’ rights, noted that the coalition agreement did not curb worker representation on companies’ supervisory boards or unions' rights in the collective bargaining process.
He also welcomed steps to pay for additional social security expenses in 2009 and 2010 out of general tax revenues, rather than through additional social security levies, which would have burdened both firms and workers.
Germany has incurred additional social security expenses as a consequence of the economic crisis.
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