Meeting new challenges in free trade

The first working group of the VDMA General Assembly 2016 focuses on the question of how policymakers and the mechanical engineering sector will succeed in creating the proper framework for free trade.

German mechanical and plant engineers are particularly dependent on open markets, given that more than 75 percent of all machines and components are exported abroad.

According to Professor Felbermayr of the ifo Institute in Munich, declining world trade and increasing protectionism are two mega trends to look out for. In addition, he expects that most of the growth will occur outside of Germany in the future – which would involve new challenges for entrepreneurs. Rainer Hundsdörfer, Chair of the VDMA Foreign Trade Committee, calls on the participants of the working group: “As entrepreneurs, we need to bolster our efforts and promote the idea of free trade much more than in the past.” As possible strategies, Hundsdörfer cites reducing the dependency on markets and actively promoting technological innovations, among other things.

The subsequent panel discussion explores the question of how European policymakers can manage to secure free trade. Together with company representatives, Ms. Ratso from the European Commission and the two European MPs Bernd Lange and Daniel Caspary will discuss how trade barriers and market access restrictions can be dismantled in the long term. This dialog stresses the fact that it is not only down to European policymakers to make a contribution to establishing free trade, companies also need to play their part, as they can reap the benefits of further successfully concluded free trade agreements.

 

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