America’s corporations criticize Germany’s digital infrastructure

Despite billions in investments by Tesla and Apple, American managers complain about the state of digitization in this country. But they also see a lot of the location positively, as a survey shows.

Analog Germany fan: Elon Musk is building a Tesla factory in Brandenburg

GThe billion-dollar investment by the technology company Apple in Germany has just caused a sensation, and the construction of Tesla’s “gigafactory” has not only kept Brandenburg in suspense for months. Large American investors have thus demonstrated their confidence in the location in the heart of Europe.

Nevertheless, there are two main points that corporations from the United States criticize in this country: On the one hand, the digital infrastructure. On the other hand, high energy costs.

On the other hand, the qualifications of the German employees, the quality of research and development and the supplier networks are very popular. American managers also appreciate the reliability of German politics.

These are central statements of the transatlantic business barometer. This is a survey on behalf of the German-American Chamber of Commerce (Amcham) among more than 70 corporations from both countries.

Despite Corona: In many cases, sales are increasing

Overall, almost two thirds (63 percent) of those surveyed on the American side rate Germany as a positive location. However, the chamber points out that the value was still an impressive 91 percent in 2018.

Despite the Corona crisis, almost half of American companies achieved an increase in sales with their German business in the past year. And every third invested and hired people during the pandemic.

So far it has kept what it promises: companies rely on President Biden
So far it has kept what it promises: companies rely on President Biden: Build: AP

Conversely, almost every second German company recorded a decline in sales in the American business last year, almost a third cut employees and every fifth cut investments. For the current year, however, the majority are clearly more optimistic: three out of four respondents assume that revenues will increase.

Overall, there is still great interest in the overseas investment location: around 76 percent of those surveyed describe it as good or very good.

Advantage America: Better climate for start-ups

And almost as high is the percentage of those who expect conditions to improve during the term of office of the new President Joe Biden. In America, they particularly value the potential in the labor market of the world’s largest economy, the framework conditions for start-ups and entrepreneurs, and the good digital infrastructure.

The corporate taxation reformed by former President Donald Trump is also popular. Labor costs, the issuing of visas and the general reliability of politics land in the rear. More than every third German company surveyed denounces the volatility of politics.

Here, too, a fundamental change can be observed: in the previous year the value was still a proud 81 percent.

Biontech and Pfizer show how it's done, says Amcham boss Frank Sportolari
Biontech and Pfizer show how it’s done, says Amcham boss Frank Sportolari: Image: dpa

The companies on both sides of the Atlantic are facing major tasks, commented Amcham President Frank Sportolari on the survey in a statement on Thursday. Very many suffered from the consequences of the pandemic.

“That is why the aid packages here and also in the United States must be tied up further and made available to companies quickly,” warned the manager, who is full-time Germany boss of the logistics company UPS.

But he also found encouraging examples: “The joint vaccine development by our members Biontech and Pfizer has shown how strong the transatlantic will to cooperate and collaborate.”

Marcus Berret also emphasized how high the hopes are that the economic relations that also functioned under Trump could revive the generally tense transatlantic dialogue. A revitalization under the Biden government is also necessary, “because in addition to coping with the pandemic, we are facing other major challenges such as climate change and a transformation of the economy and society towards more sustainability,” said the manager of the consulting company Roland Berger, which runs the Supervised the implementation of the Amcham survey.

So far, Biden has kept what he promises

The result of an additional quick survey conducted this year on the first 50 days under Biden fits in well with this. Eight out of ten respondents expressed the impression that Biden followed his promises with deeds.

They wanted the president to focus primarily on trade, climate and energy. This was followed by digitization, security and defense policy.

The dispute over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline, which is funded by Germany, shows that even under President Biden, not all the discrepancies of the past disappear into thin air.