LONDON (ICIS)--Germany’s economic affairs minister Peter Altmaier on Tuesday launched a wide-ranging paper entitled “National Industrial Strategy 2030” aimed at securing or regaining economic and technological competence, competitiveness and industrial leadership at the national, European and global level.
In the paper, the minister stresses the importance of the chemical, auto, machinery and other industrial sectors for Europe’s largest economy, and he points to many challenges industry faces and makes proposals on how to meet them.
Among many measures, he proposes support for battery cell production, as well as measures to protect some firms against hostile takeovers.
In some “very important cases” the government could, for a limited time, acquire stakes in firms to prevent takeovers, according to the paper.
German chemical producers’ trade group VCI said that it welcomed that the government acknowledges the changes industrial producers are facing in their competitive environment.
“It is time to usher in a new industrial era in support of our economy as it competes with China, the US and other regions of the world,” said VCI director general Utz Tillmann.
“Other states are using massive funds to promote new technologies - that's where we need to respond”, he said.
The minister's paper should, above all, trigger a much needed debate about the competitiveness of German industry, Tillmann said.
"The minister rightly addresses the high costs for industrial production in Germany, the unequal conditions in international competition, as well as insufficient financing instruments, as problem areas,” Tillmann said.
“There is a need for action in Germany on these issues," he said.
An industrial policy should address local conditions and strengthen the industrial network as a whole, Tillmann said
This meant that the federal government should invest in research and development in key technologies, in education, and in digitalisation and modern infrastructures.
Long overdue economic policy measures such as tax incentives for research, as well as the nationwide development of the 5G fifth-generation cellular wireless network, should now be implemented quickly, Tillmann added.
Such measures would allow German companies to develop new, disruptive business models, he said.
He also reiterated the need to lower Germany’s energy costs, which are an important cost factor in chemical production, and went on to urge a review of the many climate and environmental protection plans for consistency and efficiency.