Rede des Parlamentarischen Staatssekretärs im Bundeswirtschaftsministerium Hans-Joachim Otto anlässlich der 11. Tagung des Deutsch-Taiwanischen Wirtschaftskooperationsrates am 16. September 2011 in Taipei
Dear Viceminister Lin,
Dear Chairman Huang,
Dear Mr. Zickerick,
Ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to be here and to speak to you on the occasion of the 11th meeting of the German-Taiwanese Joint Business Council in Taipei.
Thank you very much for your kind hospitality!
This is already my second opportunity to attend the German-Taiwanese Joint Business Council and I am really impressed how many participants I see here today!
I am very happy to join you as a guest speaker!
The successful tradition of the German-Taiwanese Business Council provides a stable basis for our good and intensive bilateral economic relations. With the two of you, Mr. Huang and Mr. Fuchs, we have strong and very efficient people in charge of the Council.
Over the years, you have shown great personal commitment and deserve great credit for your successful work: please accept our heartfelt thanks for this.
1. Sound bilateral economic relations even during the crisis
Our bilateral economic relations have proved stable, even during the difficulties caused by the financial crisis in recent years. Of course, there was a drop in our bilateral trade during the crisis.
But trade between Taiwan and Germany still amounted to 8.6 billion euros in 2009 and even reached 12.49 billion euros last year. We expect further increasement for this year.
That makes Taiwan Germany’s fifth most important trading partner in Asia. Germany is Taiwan’s leading trading partner in Europe. More than 25% of Taiwanese exports to the European Union go to Germany.
Taiwan has managed to put the recession behind it, with strong growth of 10.9% in 2010, and it expects to post 5% growth this year.
2. Economic Outlook/Eurozone
When we met in Berlin last year, we were optimistic that the big economic crisis was over. But since then, we have learned that there are globally more and even worse problems and risks:
Governments in the United States and Europe face the task solving immense debt problems, and European countries are working hard to stabilize the Euro. The economy in Germany is quite strong: Following an unprecedented 5.1% decline in GDP in 2009, we achieved growth of 3.7% in 2010 – the biggest growth in the EU Our latest forecast predicts 2.6% growth in 2011 and 1.8% next year. Thes figures might be not very impressive from a Taiwanese point of view, however for Europeans, they are enormous. And our labour market is also proving to be very robust. We will do our utmost to stabilize and strengthen the Eurozone and the Euro. In this context, I like to quote the Chinese word for crisis: weiji – dangerous chance!
We all bear a responsibility for trying to turn the present crisis into an opportunity.
I am convinced that we need a strong and stable European Union. Especially for a globally connected, export-oriented economy like Germany, there is no alternative to the Euro.
We have the historic responsibility to continue deepening the European Union, which has brought such a long and stable period of peace and social and economic prosperity to Europe and to the whole world.
This does not mean that all of us will pay for the mistakes and debts of one country. But we are working hard to establish rules and effective futureoriented measures to make sure that there will be structural reforms, together with consistent and effective debt reduction, in European countries.
We will have to work hard in Europe. But like the Asian countries did during the crisis in the 1990s, we will do our homework.
3. Energy policy
In Germany, we are working hard to achieve the goals laid down in our Energy Concept, which we adopted in 2010. We have even accelerated these efforts since Fukushima.
We want to save even more energy and use it even more efficiently. And in the coming years, we want to boost the share of renewables in Germany’s energy output. We aim to shut down our last nuclear power plant by 2022. In 2010, renewable energy accounted for 9.4% of primary energy consumption in Germany.
By 2010, renewables already generated about 17% of our electricity. The German Government’s aim is to increase this share to at least 35% by the year 2020. Furthermore, by 2020, renewable energy is expected to cover 14% of Germany’s heat demand, and 18% of overall national gross final energy consumption, in accordance with the EU directive on Renewable Energy. Germany has had good experiences with the use of special tariffs for feeding electricity generated from renewables into the grid, and I think that Taiwan could benefit from this experience – the good and the bad ones.
Electric mobility is also very high on the agenda in Germany. Our target is to have one million electric vehicles on Germany’s streets by 2020.
4. Prospects for co-operation
It is particularly important to intensify our efforts to deepen co-operation between German and Taiwanese companies. The overall conditions for cooperation between our companies is good.
Germany’s export credit insurance system treats Taiwan practically like an industrial country. We highly appreciated Taiwan’s accession to the Government Procurement Agreement (GPA). But two years after Taiwan’s accession, we need to take steps toward public procurement procedures that are based on best practices, and that involve transparent and cost-effective regulations for both Taiwanese as well as foreign companies.
After much deliberation, our governments have agreed on the text of a double taxation agreement. In Germany, the legal procedures are now underway. After these have been completed, we will work to make sure that the signing ceremony takes place as soon as possible.
I believe that fields like
- medical engineering and technology,
- and energy and environmental technology
offer outstanding opportunities for future co-operation – and it is good to see so many Taiwanese firms from these sectors here today.
In the fields of renewable energy and green technology, German companies lead the world and are very much interested in co-operation. Finally, the upgrading of infrastructure offers scope for future co-operation: here as well, German firms can offer efficient, state-of-the-art solutions.
We hope to hear more today about current projects in Taiwan.
I’d like to take this opportunity to invite Taiwanese firms to come and invest in Germany, at the heart of Europe.
For example, eastern Germany offers very interesting prospects for investment, with its high-tech production sites for the electronics industry and optoelectronics.
Let me close now by wishing this eleventh meeting of the German-Taiwanese Joint Business Council the best of success and many productive discussions!
Thank you for your attention – xie xie.