German Chemical Producers Weigh in on Export Surplus Complaints

30.12.2013 -

Germany's chemical industry association Verband der Chemischen Industrie (VCI) has warned that the country's government must take seriously plans by the European Union (EU) to challenge its export surplus.

In response to complaints by other member countries that Germany's exports are endangering the EU's economic stability, the European Commission has agreed to hear arguments about a "structural imbalance" within the single market. Along with exporting too much, the Commission has suggested that Germany may be importing too little.

In regard to the chemical industry, VCI president Karl-Ludwig Kley (CEO of  Merck KGaA), acknowledged that the value of its exports has increased 116% since 2000 to €165 billion, thanks in particular to rising demand from Asia and South America. At the same time, however, he said imports rose by 111% and exceeded demand from customers in Germany, which rose only 20%.

The main reason for Germany's export strength," Kley said, is its production of "innovative and high quality products" that are in demand worldwide, especially in high-growth regions.

Commenting on EU complaints that Germany invests too little at home, the VCI president said the Commission may have a point, using the opportunity for a sideswipe at the German government. The new grand coalition must ensure that Germany's laws conform to those of the rest of Europe, Kley remarked. "Our competitiveness is impaired." he said, "Neither Germany nor the European economy stands to profit from a weakened chemical industry."