"It is not the combustion engine that is the problem, but the fossil fuels".
The machinery and plant engineering industry is looking for its opportunities even in times of the Corona pandemic. In an interview with the "Tagesspiegel", VDMA President Karl Haeusgen talks about trade policy, the supply chain law and the combustion engine.
VDMA President Karl Haeusgen is basically positive about the future. He is confident that things are looking up and that the order situation in mechanical and plant engineering will improve. An important part of this will be the strong start of business in China, and companies in the mechanical engineering sector can also benefit from economic stimulus programmes in the USA and the EU.
Nevertheless, there is no reason for euphoria. The challenges are too great and too numerous for that: overcoming the Corona crisis, the systemic conflict between the USA and China as the most important global players, and the threats posed by climate change. Asked whether the new US President Joe Biden will now steer the world into better waters, Haeusgen said:
"He knows the importance of climate protection and multilateral partnerships. This in turn is a great opportunity for the machinery and plant engineering sector, without which the transformation of industry and transport will not succeed."
There is much to do
In Europe and Germany, there are also many important issues on the agenda. There is still no free trade agreement between the EU and the USA, and in Germany the mechanical and plant engineering sector is resisting politically rigid technology specifications for the mobility of the future. "It is not the combustion engine that is the problem, but the fossil fuels. I am against banning an engine. It shortens the discussion and would even be harmful to the climate, because you would cut off the mass market for climate-friendly technologies associated with the piston engine," Haeusgen emphasises.
"It is not the combustion engine that is the problem, but the fossil fuels. I am against banning an engine."
The VDMA President is also concerned about the Supply Chain Act. The relevance of the topic is undisputed, but Haeusgen clearly criticises the planned implementation in Germany:
"It would be really great if we got a due diligence law that sets realistic and implementable requirements. Making a law that does not find the acceptance of the business community because it is so far removed from reality fails to achieve its goals."
Read the entire interview with VDMA President Karl Haeusgen here (in German only).