Competition: Europe's handling of the superiority of global corporations

Published on: 21-Mar-2019
Category: Trading
Last updated: 21-Mar-2019

Competition: Europe's handling of the superiority of global corporations

At the International Cartel Conference in Berlin, politicians and competitive guardians discussed whether government-sponsored global corporations must oppose major European companies in competition.


Federal Minister of Economics Peter Altmaier and his French colleague Bruno Le Maire demand a European industrial policy in global competition and want to promote companies in three areas in particular. They want to reform European competition law so that companies can remain competitive together. European companies should be protected against foreign takeovers and they want to promote key innovations such as battery cell production or artificial intelligence.


In the field of battery cell production, for example, Germany provides one billion euros and France 700 million euros in subsidies. This shows how important the car industry and electric car production are today and how European countries are trying to compete with China. In Germany, many car manufacturers are supplied by companies from China, among other things, a factory of the Chinese battery cell manufacturer CATL is currently being built in Erfurt.


Altmaier launched the initiative to reform competition law in February following the veto of the EU Commission against plans to merge Siemens and Alstom railways. Contrary to the warnings of antitrust authorities against premature interventions by politicians in the markets, the EU Commission has prohibited the merger between the railway divisions of Siemens and Alstom. Federal Minister of Economics Altmaier voted in favor of the merger, with Competition Commissioner Vestager opposed.


Siemens and Alstom would have become a globally influential company in the train business and would have been able to counter their Chinese competitor CRRC. Now the question is whether one should protect the internal competition and thus the consumer or whether one should produce European champions with a new competition law. However, these new big companies would have their price. Accordingly, prices for consumers could rise and competition is limited by the newly merged companies.


According to Antimonopoly President Andreas Mundt, there must be an overall strategy for European private companies to compete with Chinese state-owned companies in order to create fair competition.


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