German family businesses are breathing a collective sigh of relief with the Biden victory in the US, believing a more international approach to issues like trade will help their businesses.
“Family entrepreneurs in Germany have great hopes that trade relations and the transatlantic relationship will improve under Joe Biden,” said Reinhold von Eben-Worlée, president of Germany’s influential Association of Family Business (Die Familienunternehmer), in a press statement. “It would be important that the US gives up its blockade of the World Trade Organization and rely more heavily on supranational organizations.”
Germany’s family businesses, perhaps the most powerful corporate sector in the whole of Europe, have been dealing with a host of challenging issues in recent years
Similarly, Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, managing partner of the Trumpf Group, and one of the best-known advocates for the family business community in Germany, expressed hope for a fresh start in political culture and language in the White House, according to local media reports.
The business world in Germany hopes the in-coming Biden administration will end the threat by the Trump presidency of US tariffs on the European automotive sector. Many of Germany’s family businesses are linked to the country’s huge automotive industry.
Germany’s family businesses, perhaps the most powerful corporate sector in the whole of Europe, have been dealing with a host of challenging issues in recent years. And these haven’t just been about the Trump administration’s tough line on trade with Germany and other big European economies. Many family businesses face difficulties adapting to the fast accelerating digital economy. The phasing out of the internal combustion engine as eclectic cars become more popular also represents an existential threat to many of them in the automotive components sector.
China, which these days is more of an important trading partner to Germany than the US, might have provided a useful new market for many of the country’s businesses, but greater reliance on the second biggest economy in the world has also come with difficulties. These include concern over technology transfer issues and in the last year a more hardline foreign policy towards the West from Beijing.
Revenues have also fallen for many local family businesses during the Covid-19 pandemic, with Trumpf hit with an 8% fall in revenues in its fiscal year up to the end of June 2020. And revenues falling at family-owned BMW by 20% in the same period.