BERLIN, August 15 (Reuters) – A recent study suggests that Chinese manufacturers are making significant inroads into the European Union market, posing a formidable challenge to German manufacturers, particularly in the advanced industrial goods sector where Germany has traditionally held a dominant position.
Conducted by the employers’ economic think tank IW, the study reveals a substantial increase in China’s share of EU imports, comparable to or exceeding the growth observed in the preceding decade. This development raises concerns within the think tank, warning of potential risks to Germany’s economic engine.
While Germany experienced years of economic growth, the nation entered a recession in May. The downturn was attributed to challenges faced by key exporters, who grappled with supply chain disruptions, inflation, and escalating energy costs following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. This economic shift has sparked introspection regarding the industrial future of Europe’s economic powerhouse.
Researcher Juergen Matthes commented on the findings, stating, “These findings give cause to worry given the challenges of the energy change and problems with Germany’s competitiveness.”
The study identifies several challenges contributing to this shift, including the significant role played by Chinese state subsidies across various sectors where Chinese companies are gaining an increasing market share in the EU. Additionally, the study notes that high energy costs, stemming from the loss of Russian gas, are impacting energy-intensive sectors like chemicals.
The automotive industry, a cornerstone of Germany’s economy, is also feeling the strain from elevated energy costs. This comes at a time when Chinese electric vehicle manufacturers are making strides in conquering the European market, further intensifying the competition.
As China continues to expand its presence in EU markets, German policymakers and industry leaders face the urgent task of addressing these challenges to maintain the country’s economic competitiveness and resilience in the face of evolving global dynamics.