In an interview in Handelsblatt, Dr. Kurt Bock, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of BASF, and President of the Verband der Chemischen Industrie (German Chemical Industry Association, VCI), Frankfurt, Germany, spoke about innovation and growth in Germany, the importance of the EU, and what we should learn from Asia and the US.
In Bock’s opinion, politics in Germany are not thinking enough about how to create more growth and thus have more to distribute. With a view to the economic situation, Germany seems completely relaxed. This, in his opinion, is dangerous. In the current favorable situation of a low oil price, zero interest, soft currency, the German economy should grow much more. As it is not, shows that there are deficits, he says.
Bock still considers the tax incentives for research and development to be very important for strengthening the location of Germany. Growth-friendly and more innovative framework conditions are needed. This in his eyes also includes a new energy policy. Funding for renewable energy sources must be based on a more intelligent basis. In comparison, Chinese companies received around ten billion dollars of government research funding in 2015. China’s government has an active and focused industrial policy.
In the US, the mood among companies is good. They fully rely on the planned tax reductions, deregulation, and the announced investments in infrastructure. Such an atmosphere of departure is not felt in Europe. Europe is putting its chemical industry at risk with unnecessary bureaucracy and overblown risk assessments. Europe needs to be aware of its strengths again. Europeans must come closer together again to maintain what the European unity has given them, and to counteract protectionist tendencies from the US at an early stage, for example.
- Wir dürfen die Zeit nicht zurückdrehen, (in German)
Sven Afhüppe, Bert Fröndhoff, Kurt Bock,
Handelsblatt 28.3.2017, Nr 62, 18-19.