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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Securing supply chains: EU solution to bottlenecks

Germany’s economy is very vulnerable to supply chain problems. Government advisors advocate European answers.

Research on semiconductors, several people in protective suits.

Research on semiconductors at the Frauenhofer Institute in Chemnitz Photo: Sylvio Dittrich/imago

BERLIN dpa | Advisors to the Federal Minister of Economics argue for less dependency on critical goods Robert Habeck (Greens) for greater coordination at European level. The risks are particularly great for Germany, writes the ministry’s scientific advisory board in a report entitled “Guardrails for strengthening security of supply”, which was published in Berlin on Tuesday.

The experts write that the trade statistics do not indicate a great dependency on individual importing countries important raw materials But that could be different. 19 substances important to the pharmaceutical industry came from a maximum of three countries, as did highly specialized goods such as telecommunications satellites, refrigerated ships and dredgers. China is significantly further ahead than the EU or the USA in its effort to put its supplier relationships on a broader basis.

“A decoupling of Germany in the area of ​​electronic products such as chips from the most important Asian manufacturing countries would be particularly painful. In the short term, there would be a real loss of value creation of around 13 billion euros,” write the economists.

Experts see EU free trade agreements as an important instrument. In the future, they advise, it should be less about opening new markets for EU products and more about procuring important goods. They welcome agreements on critical minerals, such as those the EU is planning with the USA and Chile. In order to ensure the supply of important goods, public purchase obligations could make sense under certain conditions, according to the consultants.

Consultants call for new EU authority

Since the German economy is closely linked to other EU states and trade policy is largely determined by Brussels, the economists propose the establishment of a European office for security of supply. This should be possible Delivery difficulties in international trade relations and make suggestions to politicians on how to respond. His tasks could also include the coordination of joint strategic reserves of important raw materials.

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