German chemicals urge ‘new start’ to overcome crisis, set five-point plan

Author: Stefan Baumgarten

2020/05/13

LONDON (ICIS)--Germany’s economy needs to reset for an “immediate, comprehensive new start” in order to cope with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s chemicals trade group VCI said on Wednesday.

VCI put forward a five-point plan focused on:

- Resumption of normal operations: the government-ordered shutdowns must be ended quickly, but with a “sense of proportion”

- Free trade of goods: the dismantling of trade barriers and the simplification of custom procedures will drive a revival of trade flows

- Liquidity and demand: government measures to boost liquidity, which for many companies remains “critical”, as well as tax relief and reform

- Release of “growth potential” through public investment in energy, traffic, infrastructure, digitalisation, and health

- Strengthening the EU through measures that avoid countries going bankrupt, as well as a new EU economic growth programme, including the transformation of the EU’s Green Deal into a “Sustainable Future Deal”

TIME IS RUNNING OUT
For Germany and the EU to find their way out of the crisis “a strong signal for a new start” is needed, said Christian Kullmann, VCI president and CEO of chemical producer Evonik.

However, as time is short governments and politicians have “only one shot, and that shot has to hit the mark”, he said.

Overall, Germany’s chemical-pharmaceuticals industry is coping better than other industries amid the crisis, Kullmann said.

Chem-pharma is “system-relevant” in helping the country overcome the pandemic, he said.

However, in the face of the severe crisis, it remains to be seen how much longer the industry will be able to keep fully performing its role as problem solvers, he added.

Front page picture:  Chemical facilities in Leverkusen, Germany, by the River Rhine in April
Source: Martin Meissner/AP/Shutterstock

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