It will be 25 years this month since the fall of the
Berlin Wall. While millions of people are commemorating this
momentous occasion, it's also an excellent opportunity to
reflect upon the opportunities Germany offers Australian companies
and Australia generally.
Just as the fall of the Wall reunited East and West Berlin, the
digital age has broken down the distance barriers between Australia
and Europe, making it relatively easy for Australian companies to
operate in Germany.
When Australians think of doing business in Europe, many
naturally think of the United Kingdom. But Germany should not be
ignored. As the fourth-largest economy in the world and
Europe's largest economy, Germany offers enormous scope for
Australian companies doing business in Europe.
TRADE RELATIONS BETWEEN AUSTRALIA AND GERMANY
German immigration to Australia dates back to the
mid-19th century, and Germany and Australia's
cultural and trading relationship has flourished ever since.
Australian companies that have had operations in Germany for some
time include Brambles, Sonic Healthcare and Hochtief, just to name
The two countries marked the 60th anniversary of
Australian-German bilateral relations in 2012 by signing a
Strategic Partnership to further strengthen ties. Under the
Partnership, the two countries have committed to facilitating
connections between German business and Australian business,
particularly in the areas of climate, renewable energy and
Significantly, Germany's Chancellor, Angela Merkel, is
scheduled to attend the G20 Leader's Summit in Brisbane on
15-16 November 2014 as a guest of the Australian government. This
is the first such visit since 1997.
WHY SHOULD AUSTRALIA COMPANIES CONSIDER DOING BUSINESS IN
Germany has the largest economy in Europe
Germany's GDP is 22% of the entire Eurozone's GDP. It is
one of the world's largest exporters, with approximately
AUD$1.46 trillion worth of exports each year and a current account
balance of around US$215 billion. It is Australia's tenth
largest trading partner. Further, around two-thirds of the
world's key international trade fairs are held in Germany.
Shared interest in key industries
Underpinning Germany's strong economy is a history of
investing in priority industries. Many of its key industries are
also priorities for Australia, which makes the two countries
natural trading and economic partners.
There are already over 300 partnerships and co-operation
agreements between Australian and German universities. There is
also great potential for co-operation in the supply of Australian
raw materials to Germany and German investment in Australia's
resources and biotechnology sectors.
Germany's key industries include:
Information and communications
technology - Germany's ICT industry is
Europe's largest and it was one of the reasons the German
economy weathered the global financial crisis as well as it
Renewable energy and environment
technology - Germany is a global leader in renewable
energy and environmental technology and is home to:
The world's largest photovoltaic market;
Europe's largest solar thermal market; and
Europe's largest wind energy market and one of the largest
wind industries worldwide.
Medical technology - Germany is
Europe's leading location for medical technology and the second
largest medical technology producer and medical services provider
Germany is the gateway to Europe
Germany shares borders with every major economy in central
Europe and provides access to both established markets in western
Europe and emerging markets in central and eastern Europe.
Germany's exceptional infrastructure is set up to transport
both passengers and goods quickly and efficiently by air, land or
Further, given the Single European Market of the Eurozone,
goods, services, persons and capital can move freely within this
market. As a result, imported goods sold in Germany are exempt from
customs duties and procedures if the goods originated in a member
state of the European Union or the goods were previously imported
into another member state of the European Union before moving on to
With a number of shared priorities and many Australian companies
already having successful operations in Germany, there is a great
deal of scope to further strengthen existing relationships and
build new alliances.
Germany is about much more than bratwurst and beer: its economic
might and open market offer Australian companies excellent
opportunities to thrive in the European market.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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