Sectoral Dialogue

BERLIN (Own report) – The German government is firmly committed to promoting the German arms industry. According to a “strategy paper” recently adopted by the cabinet, the government is planning to “increase investments” in the development of “defense-related technologies.” It also wants to step up “political support” for German arms companies’ business activities, which – if necessary – could be extended to “third countries” non-members of the EU or NATO, and could explicitly include the export of combat hardware. Bilateral agreements should also be concluded with “partner countries” to enhance the “opportunities for German companies” in “large-scale foreign [arms] procurement projects,” according to the paper. These measures comply with the demands of German arms manufacturers, who, for quite some time, have been in “dialogue” with government representatives. One of the results of the “dialogue,” announced by Vice-Chancellor and Minister for the Economy Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) is the government’s support of defense contractors “to obtain access to the evolving markets of civilian security technologies” as well as, in their “cooperation efforts with developing and threshold countries.”

Key National Technologies

According to a “strategy paper,” recently adopted by the cabinet, the German government is explicitly committed to promoting the German arms industry and is planning to “increase investments” in the development of “defense-related technologies.” “Security and independence through expertise in the field of critical key defense industrial technologies” is of “vital importance for Germany as a leading industrial nation.” These “key technologies,” whose “accessibility” – according to the cabinet – “must be assured in the interest of national security,” should enhance Germany’s war waging capability. In concrete terms, these are combined-arms warfare technologies in the context of “network-centric operations” of the army, air force, and navy, along with spy sensors, “armored platforms,” “underwater units” and measures for protection of the combat troops. Even though the authors of the “strategy paper” espouse the “Europeanization” of the arms industry, because of the “significant contribution” German companies could provide, due to their excellent “competiveness,” they also contend that “capacity domains” should be exclusively under national control. “In considering the foreign, European and defense policy interests within the framework of procurement decisions, the preservation of selected key defense industrial technologies must be taken into consideration.”[1]

Export Policy Support

In addition, the government explicitly promises an “export policy support” to the German arms industry’s business activities. The “strategy paper’s” authors explicitly declare their intention to “support the defense industry in its activities, particularly within the EU, the NATO, and NATO-equivalent countries.” This support could also “be extended to so-called third nations, if … special foreign or security policy interests require the export of combat weapons,” the paper continues. The conclusion of “bilateral departmental or government accords” were also announced, with unnamed “partner countries,” to “be able to enhance the opportunities of German companies in large-scale foreign procurement projects.”[2]

Dual Use

Following a “Sectoral Dialogue” session last fall, Gabriel spoke out in favor of “optimizing licensing procedures,” regulating exports of so-called dual-use goods. “As an export oriented economic sector, in certain areas, the German machine and plant construction business sector is dependent on export licenses for dual-use goods. Those are goods, which could be used for civilian or for military purposes. The companies need reliability in their planning and rapid feedback on their applications.”[6] Consequently, there is no more talk of the restrictive arms export policy, the minister of the economy had promised at the beginning of his term of office. Today, there is only the lavish promotion of the “innovative, efficient, and competitive national defense industry.”[7]

Full article: Sectoral Dialogue (German Foreign Policy)

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