The German-Australian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Accru Felsers joined together on 11th February to bring colleagues and members a special New Year Reception to celebrate German-Australian business opportunities. We were especially honoured to have with us German Consul-General Peter Silberberg, as well as Mr Gert Rabbow, German Chamber Executive Director (pictured below with Accru Felsers Partner, Steven Zabeti). Together they welcomed over 130 guests with short addresses.
Held on board the beautifully restored James Craig tall ship, this stunning venue superbly showcased Sydney’s Harbour city. As dusk turned to night, we cruised by famous landmarks and enjoyed Sydney’s magnificent skyline from the ship’s top deck.
Steven Zabeti spoke to an animated crowd, highlighting the importance of the German ‘Mittelstand’ to the Australian economy, a market that Accru Felsers specialises in. We share some of Steven’s remarks below.
The ‘Mittelstand’ and our bilateral relationship
Germany and Australia have shared a very successful partnership stemming from the growth of Mittelstand companies across the globe. Mittelstand companies comprise over 90% of German businesses and employ roughly 80% of the German workforce.
The global spread and success of the Mittelstand model can be attributed to their unique characteristics such as robust vocational training, taking a long-term view of commercial interests, and continual investment in research and development. The Mittelstand’s focus on manufacturing and innovation has helped Germany rise to become one of the world’s major exporters. British Prime Minister Tony Blair once asked the Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, “What’s the secret of Germany’s economic success?” She famously replied “Mr Blair, we still make things”.
Meanwhile, Australia has been the destination of foreign investment. In terms of bilateral trade, the German-Australian relationship continues to go from strength to strength, and gives us cause to celebrate because Germany is Australia’s tenth-largest trade partner.
In terms of bilateral investment, at the end of 2016, Australian investment in Germany was worth A$65.8 billion, and Germany’s total investment in Australia was valued at A$38.8 billion. To promote and enhance this bilateral investment, our Double Tax Agreement entered into force on 1 January 2017. Our revised tax treaty provides increased certainty for businesses in Australia and Germany by reducing tax impediments to create new opportunities.
Accru Felsers longstanding German-Australian partnerships
As more German businesses move to tap into the opportunities in Australia, it’s important to have the right partners.
Largely due to our European origins, Accru Felsers has been assisting German-speaking businesses to establish in Australia and grow into well known brands for over 75 years. These include some of the world’s largest manufacturers and distributors, like Schaeffler, Witron, Groupon and The Iconic.
Accru Felsers relationship with the German-Australian Chamber of Industry & Commerce is longstanding – dating back to its establishment in Sydney in 1977. We have been an active member since that time and value the Chamber’s representation of German business interests in Australia. Accru Felsers was honoured to be the primary sponsor of the AHK New Year Reception this year and looks forward to collaborating on future German Chamber initiatives.