American corporations value Germany as a location but are still significantly reducing investment; digitalization is the main focus of investment; mega-trends create investment opportunities
- 40% of the surveyed U.S. CFOs rate Germany amongst the Top 5 countries in the EU in 10 of 16 critical location factors
- 73% describe their current economic situation as “good” or even “very good”. 59% expect further improvement in 2022. 72% expect improvement over the next 5 years
- U.S. investors continue to value Germany's fundamental location factors but criticize its digital infrastructure. 36% rate it as one of the Bottom 5 in the EU
- Only 18% of U.S. investors want to invest at least 10 million EUR in Germany compared to 47% four years ago
Berlin/Washington - December 21, 2021. U.S. corporations are generally happy about their business prospects in Germany and expect to remain so for the foreseeable future. 73% of the subsidiaries from U.S. American groups describe their current economic situation in Germany as at least 'good'. 30% of them even describe it as 'very good'. U.S. corporations also view their future prospects with optimism with 59% of them expecting further improvement in 2022. In the medium term, based on a 5-year projection, 72% concur with the previous buoyant assessment - a clear sign of their long-term commitment to Germany.
Andreas Glunz, Managing Partner International Business at KPMG in Germany notes that: “Germany is and will remain an important business destination for U.S. groups. Nevertheless, U.S. corporations reduce their investments sharply. This is surprising because the current mega-trends such as digitalization and environmental protection create great growth potential and international investors could count on the proven innovativeness “made in Germany"."
In our survey Germany received the best ratings for the location factors of public safety (83%), standard of living (81%) and political stability (81%), which are particularly relevant to long-term investment. The view of Germany as a viable research location remains good. 50% of those surveyed rank Germany amongst the Top 5 in the EU or the best performer in this regard. Germany’s high labor productivity is also valued by U.S. investors. 75% of them rank it in the Top 5 in the EU or the best performer.
These are key findings of the U.S. Business in Germany 2022 survey presented today by KPMG in Germany and AmCham Germany. It examines, by way of EU comparison, the most important factors of Germany as a business location in a survey of 100 CFOs from the largest German subsidiaries of U.S. corporations.
Need for investments in infrastructure in Germany
According to U.S. corporations the inadequate digital infrastructure in Germany - by far the worst-rated location factor - is one of the greatest barriers to investment. Only 13% of them still deem Germany's digital infrastructure to be of a convincing state-of-the-art quality. For more than a third (36%) of U.S. CFOs, the digital infrastructure in Germany is one of the most backward in the entire EU (Bottom 5 or worst performer).
In addition, they also see deficiencies in the logistics infrastructure, especially roads, bridges and railways, which are all perceived as outdated. Only 58% of U.S. CFOs place Germany in the Top 5 in the EU, whereas four years ago that figure stood at 72%.
The transatlantic economic partnership needs fresh impetus
The USA and Germany can look back on decades of successful economic partnership. Their close economic ties - at federal and state level - are critical.
The USA is the largest investor country by far in terms of the sales it generates in Germany (almost 200 billion EUR per annum) and the number of people it employs (more than 600,000).
Nevertheless, in recent years the strong transatlantic economic ties have become frayed. Trade barriers, such as tariffs, and a lack of incentives for innovation have weakened relations between the U.S. and Germany. At the same time, there has been a lack of courageous reform in Germany in recent years with regard to consolidating its standing as a desirable business location by improving the framework conditions for foreign investors.
The results of the survey should, therefore, now give rise to new, powerful impulses in the transatlantic economic partnership. "The revitalization of transatlantic economic relations should be at the top of the political agendas of the U.S. administration under President Joe Biden and the new German government, especially in the areas of digitalization, climate protection and infrastructure," says Simone Menne, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany (AmCham Germany). “Both governments should be jointly developing innovative and future-oriented ideas in order to implement reforms quickly and without bureaucratic hinderance. These ideas should flow into the design of a transatlantic digital economic space that does justice to geopolitical dynamics and recognizes digitalization as a prime economic feature of the 21st century."
Opportunities in Germany for U.S. investors
Various industries in Germany are in a phase of fundamental transformation, which is supported by politics in both Germany and the EU via massive funding programs connected to future industries and related business.
“U.S. corporations, in particular, can benefit significantly from the upcoming conversion of the German economy, as they are very welcome as investors in Germany. We see a wide range of opportunities for M&A activity, Greenfield investment and cross-Atlantic collaborations, especially in the automotive, industrial manufacturing, healthcare, renewable energies, infrastructure and construction sectors. In addition, Germany is characterized by its strong base of family businesses and numerous hidden global champions, as well as its innovative start-up scene, all of which have great potential,” says Andreas Glunz.
About the “U.S. Business in Germany 2022” survey
The U.S. Business in Germany 2022 survey is derived from the Business Destination Germany 2022 survey for which the opinion research institute KANTAR interviewed, on behalf of KPMG in Germany, 360 CFOs of German subsidiaries of foreign parent companies, whereby only the largest subsidiary per parent company was engaged. Thereof 100 CFOs are employed at German subsidiaries of U.S. groups.
The survey was conducted between June 14 and August 16, 2021.
Click here to read the full survey U.S. Business in Germany 2022.
Manager, Head of Communications & Government Relations
American Chamber of Commerce in Germany e.V.
+49 30 2130056-34