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Manufacturing Policy Portal [beta]

Hosted by the Centre for Science, Technology & Innovation Policy (CSTI)

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Key Policies

Key Policies


At federal government level, the prevailing viewpoint is that the government’s role is to be less directly active in manufacturing and industrial production, instead believing that individuals and companies should act according to their own initiative.  The German government opposes protectionism, and also takes the view that future markets cannot be determined by policymakers.  Instead, government should concentrate on creating a conducive environment for industry the economy to thrive, and setting policy in education, technology, energy and the environment accordingly.  There are in fact few instruments at hand for the German Government to execute an industrial policy.  National and regional support for manufacturing firms derives from a decentralised and complex institutional framework, funded directly or indirectly by the government.  Despite that complexity, however, German firms benefit from a stability that is built into the policy environment.  Of late, there has been a greater focus on developing market opportunities abroad, coordinating policies around ‘central missions’ in which production is a core component, and an aim to boost both education and R&D expenditure (€12 billion more than previously planned in those areas between 2010 and 2013). 

Another priority of the German state is to encourage manufacturing SMEs to retain production and good manufacturing jobs within the country, despite the lower costs that might be available elsewhere.  The network of institutes supporting German firms, prominent among them being the Fraunhofer Society, offers skills, equipment, and services that those companies could not afford on their own.  The sense of this being a core national mission is reflected in the resources, funding, and well-led institutions that make German manufacturing a success.

The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung – BMBF) has recently unveiled Germany’s High-Tech Strategy (HTS), the aim of which is to ensure long term prosperity based on innovative strength.  Education and research are identified as Federal Government policy priorities, and the HTS seeks to provide scientific and technical solutions in ‘mission-oriented’, ‘forward-looking’ projects in a number of fields: climate/energy (e.g. ‘CO2-neutral, energy-efficient, and climate-adapted cities’), health/nutrition (e.g. ‘individualized medicine’), mobility (e.g. ‘a million electric vehicles in Germany by 2020’), security (e.g. ‘more effective protection of communications network’), and communication (e.g. ‘ICT Strategy 2020’).