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Three questions to Prof. Dieter Kempf

Picture of Prof. Dieter Kempf, President of BDI

Why are the G20 and B20 important to the German industry?

The German economy – and specifically its manufacturing sector – is deeply integrated in global value chains through trade, investment and increasingly digitalization. The success of our companies depends on a multitude of fac-tors that cannot be influenced alone within national borders. This is also true for climate change, migration, or global health. The G20 as the premier fo-rum for international economic cooperation has shown in the past that it can have a major part in setting the right impetuses and frameworks.

Representing the entire G20 business community, the B20 has an important and acknowledged role in shaping global governance. Beyond the influence the B20 has on G20 decisions, the consolidation of positions and close in-teraction with business representatives from all over the world enrich our understanding, knowledge exchange, and ability to find workable solutions. We appreciate the opportunity to co-lead this significant forum.

What topics are the most crucial on the G20 agenda in your opinion?

Of course trade and investment, digitalization, and energy are core focus topics in international relations for the BDI. But the G20 also covers a lot of rather technical issues that can have an important impact – such as anti-corruption.

One cross-cutting issue that urgently needs to be addressed is the raising an-ti-globalization sentiment. Without public support and consent among policy makers we will not make progress on any of the issues at hand. And I do not remember times when we needed global cooperation more than today to take full advantage of emerging opportunities – such as Industrie 4.0 or dig-ital trade – and mitigate challenges.

A top priority for the German G20 presidency thus needs to be to better ex-plain impacts of globalization and to establish a common understanding among G20 members what are the benefits and drawbacks. Based on this they could then develop a working hypothesis to maximize advantages and address disadvantages.

You mentioned digitalization and Industrie 4.0. Why is global coopera-tion required for these issues?

Industrie 4.0 is indeed a revolution for manufacturers – not only through the interconnection of machines, R&D, production processes and humans, but also because new areas of production-related services emerge. However, if we want to take full advantage of this development and meet potential risks we need trustworthy cross-border data flows, we need a high level of cy-bersecurity, and we need interoperable standards and reference architectures so that devices, machines, and processes can interlink worldwide. Further-more, development and use of innovation has to be fostered through coop-eration and adequate intellectual property rights protection. For all of this global collaboration is a requirement.



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