National Industrial Strategy 2030
by Hans Diederichs
Today, players from business, politics and science are meeting in Berlin for the "Congress on the National Industrial Strategy 2030" to discuss the draft strategic guidelines for a German and European industrial policy presented by Federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier at the beginning of February 2019. The Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl welcomes the debate about the right political framework. "The steel industry can only master the enormous challenges, such as the increasing protectionism worldwide and the transformation into a low CO2 economy, if these are accompanied by an activating industrial policy", says Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff, President of the Wirtschaftsvereinigung Stahl.
It is particularly urgent that an international level playing field be created. "It is good and right that this is emphasized as a central regulatory criterion in the draft of the National Industrial Strategy," said Kerkhoff. To this end, burden limits on the costs of the energy system transformation as well as a coherent concept to compensate for the phase-out of coal are necessary. In addition, the considerable competitive disadvantages caused by the impending costs of EU emissions trading must be prevented urgently.
In addition, the foreign trade environment must be addressed, which has changed profoundly in recent years: "Overcapacities on a global level and the increasing protectionist tendencies worldwide put the steel industry in Germany and Europe under pressure", explains Kerkhoff. The industry supports the chosen approach of continuing to stand up for multilateralism and open markets. However, the EU Commission must take a more active approach against distortions of competition by other countries by consistently applying and continuously developing the trade defence instruments of the EU.
After all, the industrial strategy must provide comprehensive support for the path towards a climate-neutral economy in 2050. In view of the considerable additional costs, instruments must be found with which low-carbon production processes can be operated in comparison with other countries. "A strategic policy approach is necessary that combines energy system transformation, transformation of the basic industries and international competitiveness", Kerkhoff demands. The formulation of a national industrial strategy is a first step, which must eventually lead to a European initiative.