Minister of Economy wants to protect technologies by state intervention | Economy | DW

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Minister of Economic Affairs Peter Altmeier wants to improve the framework conditions for German industry and prevent their sell-off abroad.

In his industrial strategy 2030, which was presented on Friday, he calls for, inter alia, lower corporate taxation and a cap on social security contributions. Electricity costs should fall for both industry and households.

Industrial protection through state ownership

German companies that are responsible for sensitive and highly relevant future technologies, Peter Altmaier wants to protect if necessary, even with state funds before acquisitions. He spoke of a national option for recourse, which should only be used in exceptional cases.

The first draft of its industrial strategy in February had sparked vocal criticism of the economy, including for a sovereign wealth fund that is now no longer so.

"We do not want protectionism, we do not want to burden the economy, but we want to ensure that a sell-off does not happen," Atmaier said.

Germany Peter Altmaier visits DLR (picture-alliance / dpa / S. Hoppe)

Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier in the German Aerospace Center.

Germany should be able to hold its own against the USA and Asia

In order to decide quickly, he wants to set up a 'Standing Committee', which will be staffed by secretaries of state. The aim is to increase the competitiveness of the German economy and, where necessary, to regain technological competence. Especially in future technologies, US and Asian companies are partly ahead.

The state should thus get more testing opportunities – in critical areas such as artificial intelligence, robotics, semiconductors, biotechnology and quantum technology. Concrete names of major corporations worth protecting no longer contain the strategy. In February, Altmaier named Siemens, Thyssenkrupp and Deutsche Bank among others.

Germany Iconic Robotics (imago / Westend61)

In the area of ​​robotics, Germany has sold a strategically important company abroad with the sale of the Augsburg-based manufacturer Kuka to China.

Especially the German middle class felt in Altmaier's first draft in February too little represented. As a result, the minister entered into dialogue with the associations. Accordingly, Eric Schweitzer, President of the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, praised the revised draft as an "important signal for our hidden champions".

The economy is still afraid of state control

However, Altmaier does not seem to have completely penetrated the economy with his proposal. The fear that the state could interfere too much, persists: "A creeping entry into a state-directed industrial policy must avoid the policy," said DIHK President Schweitzer.

Dieter Kempf, President of the Federation of German Industries (BDI), is even more explicit: "German industry has no say in a state's recourse option to safeguard technological sovereignty." An authorization of the Federal Government to invest capital in individual companies is in line with the basic principles of the social market economy not easily reconciled, "Kempf said in a response to Altmaier's revised proposal.

pcb / hb (dpa, rtr)

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