A recent publication by the German branch of Ernst & Young about the German auto industry suggests how, legally and tactically, German firms can negotiate the new terrain of US-German relations.
One thing is clear. German corporations operating in the United States not only bring jobs; they also tend to establish dynamic centers of export. They also cluster in innovative areas such as robotics, lightweight construction, battery technology, electric motors, medical device manufacture, information technology, and other dynamic sectors.
German corporations that invest in the United States are not only seeking access to the American market; they are also hunting for partnerships in research and development. Ernst & Young points out this is a two-way street.
German industries both large and small should sell this to local and federal government.
Ernst & Young gives the example of the automobile industry. According to the Verband der Automobilindustrie, 815,000 automobiles are imported into the United States annually. Since 2009, the big three German manufacturers, BMW, Daimler, and VW, increased US production fourfold. They now produce just under 810,000 automobiles in US factories. But US consumers buy only 41% of these automobiles. 59% are exported out of the US, making German manufacturers major American exporters.
In fact, German companies that locate affiliates in the United States are among the United States’ largest exporters. They are also engines of job creation and innovation in their regions.
In the small state of Connecticut alone, for instance, there are over 54 German corporations. Many American companies also establish affiliates in Germany. Connection encourages the growing density of connections.
Making this visible to state and local politicians should be a priority for German businesses. German exports rank second in Connecticut, amounting to 10.8% of all Connecticut exports. By comparison, Germany ranks 6th in the United States over all as a foreign export partner. German companies in Connecticut (and in other states) therefore punch above their weight.
There will be no “America First” without German companies.