Facts about Germany 2015 2015 - Page 60

58 | 59 BUSINESS & INNOVATION BUSINESS & INNOVATION A Strong Hub ∙ Global Player ∙ Lead Markets and Innovative Products ∙ Sustainable Economy ∙ Digital Agenda ∙ Attractive Labour Market INSIGHT A STRONG HUB Germany is the largest economy in the Euro- highest employment rates in the EU and is pean Union (EU) and the fourth largest in the the country with the lowest youth unem- world after the USA, China, and Japan. The ployment percentage. This underscores the German economy has its great innovative- value of dual vocational training, which has ness and strong focus on exports to thank for become an export commodity in its own its competitiveness and global networking. right and is being adapted by many coun- In high-selling sectors, such as car-making, tries. Factors such as the availability of skilled mechanical and plant engineering, the labour, infrastructure and legal certainty are chemicals industry and medical technology, further characteristics of Germany, which is exports account for far more than half of to- very high on the list in many international tal sales. In 2014, only China and the USA ex- rankings. Federal Deputy Chancellor Sigmar ported more goods. Germany invests around Gabriel (SPD) is likewise Federal Minister for 80 billion euros annually in research and de- Economic Affairs and Energy. velopment (R&D). Many companies are well on the way to “Industry 4.0”, a project des- Since 1949 the idea of a social market econ- tined in particular to advance digitalisation omy has formed the basis of German eco- in production engineering and logistics. nomic policy. The social market economy guarantees free entrepreneurial activity The positive economic momentum has led while at the same time endeavouring to cre- to a favourable trend on the labour market. ate social checks and balances. Formulated in Germany is one of the countries with the the post-War years by Ludwig Erhard, who