The global Corona crisis also weighed heavily on many companies in Germany. The chemical-pharmaceutical industry has been hit less hard than other sectors of the economy, but Germany’s third-largest sector will still record a 6 % drop in sales in 2020. The German Chemical Industry Association (VCI; Verband der Chemischen Industrie) reported at its press conference today that as a result of weaker demand, production fell overall by 3 %. All divisions suffered losses, pharmaceuticals saw the smallest drop in production at –0.5 %, and polymers the largest at –6.5 %. Despite the weak chemical economy, the number of employees remained stable at 464,000.
In 2021, the VCI expects the German chemical and pharmaceutical industry to increase production by 1.5 % and sales by 2.5 %. The VCI expects employment to decline by 1 %. This is due to the structural change in the industry, which is being accelerated by the Corona crisis. Overcoming the crisis will take time and will probably not be overcome until 2022 or later, according to 40 % of the VCI members.
Overall, Germany needs more innovation and investment. In particular, regulatory hurdles should be removed, research should be promoted more strongly, research, teaching and application should be more closely interlinked, and affordable, renewable energy must be available to companies. The VCI advocates breaking down climate protection barriers by having the EU work toward a global price for CO2. In their opinion, closer international cooperation benefits climate protection more than a Europe that seals itself off.
In the view of the VCI, the conclusion of the Asia-Pacific Agreement RCEP as the world’s largest free trade area with 15 states comprising 30 % of global economic output also increases the need for strategic alliances for the EU. Therefore, the VCI appeals to Brussels to continue to pursue the EU’s trade agreements.
- Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI), Frankfurt, Germany