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Made in Germany: Industrial Strategy 2030


Industry is a major contributor to growth and prosperity, driven by SMEs, large companies and efficient service providers. In order to keep it that way, we have to shape technological innovations and political challenges in a way that creates new opportunities. The Industrial Strategy 2030 put forward by Federal Minister Peter Altmaier is a comprehensive concept to strengthen the competitiveness of the industrial sector in Germany and Europe.

Why do we need an industrial strategy?

  • Germany has one of the strongest industrial economies in the world.
    With around seven million employees in jobs subject to social security contributions, roughly 60% of total research and development spending, and an
    approximately 23% share of gross value added, Germany’s industrial companies make a major contribution to the country’s prosperity.
  • As a hub for industry, Germany is facing huge technological and political challenges.
    Globalisation, digitalisation, innovations, increasing state intervention and other countries’ departure from multilateral agreements pose considerable challenges to industry.
  • Germany must be committed to shaping these developments in a way that creates opportunities, and to strengthening the competitiveness of its industrial sector.
  • Companies must stand the test of competition.
    The task for industrial companies is to produce innovations so that they can survive on the world’s markets. The Social Market Economy and international trade provide them with many opportunities. They also have to bear the risks of their commercial activities.
  • Policymakers provide the framework in which companies can operate.
    In the Social Market Economy, policymakers have the task to create overall conditions that allow companies to maximise their performance and competitiveness. The aim is to enable them to operate on a global level playing field.
  • Together with the stakeholders in the business community, the Industrial Strategy 2030 helps to safeguard and regain commercial and technical expertise, competitiveness and industrial leadership.

Industrial Strategy 2030

Strengthening industrial competitiveness in a lasting way

The strengths of Germany’s industrial sector lie in its capacity for innovation, highly skilled employees, as well as efficient and precisely timed value chains shaped by the successful interaction between industrial SMEs, family businesses and large enterprises. Thus, it is a major contributor to growth and prosperity.

In order to safeguard these strengths for the future, the Industrial Strategy 2030 identifies three central fields of action. It also includes the results of the intensive dialogue process conducted over the previous months.

The three pillars of the Industrial Strategy

  • Improving the overall conditions for entrepreneurial activities
    The success of Germany’s economy is built on the initiative and the willingness to take risks of the private sector. The primary task for policymakers is to shape the economic policy framework in such a way that companies can continue to use their opportunities for further development. This ensures the competitiveness of Germany as a hub for industry. The Industrial Strategy specifies measures in various areas:

    • shaping corporate taxation in a way that ensures competitiveness,
    • capping welfare charges,
    • making the labour market more flexible
    • mobilising skilled labour,
    • ensuring a safe and affordable energy supply and preventing carbon leakage,
    • expanding infrastructure,
    • securing the supply of raw materials and promoting the circular economy,
    • reducing red tape and
    • modernising competition law.
  • Strengthening new technologies – mobilising private capital
    Technologies are a key driver of structural change. The German and European economies therefore have to pursue two goals: firstly, to directly apply game-changing technologies such as artificial intelligence; and secondly, to develop these technologies and in doing so set new standards. Any company wishing to maintain its position in the face of competition will need to have mastery of and access to the new technologies.

    Furthermore, we have to activate the innovation potential in Germany and make sure that more technological innovations are used in practice. The Industrial Strategy 2030 identifies the following goals in particular:

    • promoting investment in technologies, for example by improving financing options for game-changing technologies,
    • activating the production potential of digitalisation in the fields: artificial intelligence, Industrie 4.0, an autonomous and trustworthy data infrastructure, digital platforms and the mobility of the future,
    • setting the stage for effective climate change mitigation by means of a low-emission industrial sector and CCS as well as CCU technologies,
    • developing the bioeconomy as a forward-looking field to strengthen Germany’s status as a location for high technology, and
    • promoting lightweighting.
  • Maintaining technological sovereignty
    In addition to improving economic policies and promoting technologies more actively, it may be necessary in certain cases to maintain the technological sovereignty of the German economy. In particular, losses of expertise must be avoided, and self-determination in key fields of technology must be retained: The Industrial Strategy includes the following measures:

    • Modernising instruments for the protection of technological sovereignty: we are adapting the law on foreign trade to changes in EU legislation. As a last resort, and only if all the other instruments do not apply, temporary state holdings are to be individually considered and offered via a National Shareholding Instrument. The National Shareholding Instrument Standing Committee of the Federal Government at State Secretary level could make it possible to take the decisions quickly and efficiently.
    • Improving cybersecurity.

The Industrial Strategy in a European context

The Industrial Strategy 2030 also contains suggestions for a European industrial policy. For example, it requests the adaptation of European competition and state aid law to changing parameters. Moreover, like many other Member States of the European Union, we call upon the new European Commission to present a comprehensive long-term EU industrial strategy with specific measures. In October this year, this position was reaffirmed in the Friends of Industry’s joint “Vienna Declaration”. In addition, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action advocates a structured monitoring of the EU industry’s competitiveness in order to develop industrial policy measures and, if appropriate, set the course for institutional changes as well.

In order to make Europe’s industrial sector fit for the future, we must use the available potential for innovation even more. The work of the Strategic Forum and the instrument “Important Project of Common European Interest” (IPCEI) associated with it are adequate starting points to identify strategic European value chains and support the expansion of key technologies.


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German industry in the context of competition

Facts and figures: what “Made in Germany” means in industry

The industrial sector is the engine of the German economy, it is highly competitive and innovative. Without its large share of jobs in industry, Germany would not be able to maintain its income levels, nor its high standards of education, environmental protection, social security, health care, or infrastructure. That is why industry is the foundation for growth, prosperity, and employment.

In Germany, the manufacturing industry’s share of gross value added is around 23 %, a value that has held steady for about 20 years. This figure is higher than in most EU Member States, the most recent EU average being 16.2 %. Even on a global scale, Germany has one of the strongest industrial economies. Its industry generates a higher share of GDP than other industrialised countries such as France, the UK or the U.S.

The automotive, mechanical engineering and metals sectors account for half of industrial value creation, followed by chemicals and pharmaceuticals, the manufacture of rubber, ceramic and plastic goods etc., and the food industry.

Of the approximately seven million people employed in industrial jobs subject to social security contributions, most work for the metals industry – including the production and processing of metals as well as the manufacture of metal products –, for the automotive and mechanical engineering sectors. In these sectors, new jobs have been created between 2000 and 2017, increasing the number of employees.

Dialogue process

Creating the right conditions for success: a dialogue on the Industrial Strategy

In February 2019 Federal Minister Peter Altmaier presented his draft for the Industrial Strategy, opening up a dialogue with relevant stakeholders from industry, commerce, the trade unions, academia and policymakers.

In the context of this dialogue, proposals were made and measures discussed to strengthen German industry in a lasting way. The aim was to jointly create the right conditions for industry’s competitiveness and innovative capacities, as well as to safeguard the jobs of the future. The Congress on the National Industry Strategy in May 2019 marked an important milestone of this phase, bringing together around 70 representatives from associations and business, government and the social partners.

In July and August, the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action, the Federation of German Industries and IG Metall, the metal workers’ union, presided over a structured dialogue that also involved the Alliance for Industry. Five dialogue forums served to discuss the key points of the Industrial Strategy, addressing the following issues: industrial competitiveness/safeguarding the attractiveness of Germany as a business location, technology promotion, protection of critical infrastructure, mobility of the future, and artificial intelligence. The results were analysed in a final discussion at the Industry Conference on 24 September 2019, organised by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action. The contributions were then included into a revision of the strategy.

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