13 marzo, 2017
Markus Kemper is the Sub-director of the German Trade Chamber in Spain (Deutsche Handelskammer für Spanien or AHK Spanien) and his almost seventeen years of experience working for the German government have helped hundreds of German companies to establish, grow and develop in Spain. This delegation represents the German economy in Spain and is the main service for German and Spanish companies. It offers services oriented to the promotion of German foreign trade and its scope of action ranges from emerging companies to renewable energies and energy efficiency. The German Trade Chamber is a great support for the German govern when specific information on legal aspects are required or when it comes to taking the first steps in the Spanish market.
The good relationship and communication between countries is fundamental for Mr. Kemper to succeed on his work, so he answered “critical” when I asked him about how the current situation of the EU could be considered. He affirmed that the spirit is more of dissolution than union and insisted that the situation is not to be quiet, “any unitary movement is beneficial” however he does not hesitate to affirm that most of the European countries are currently growing and that this has not always been like this.
“Spain is the country on the European union that grows the most”. Mr. Kemper explained that since the beginning of the crisis the German investment in Spain has increased considerably. He stressed the close relationship of both countries in some industries such as the automobile industry where Spain and Germany share interests and space for decades as well as in the metallurgical or banking sector. In fact, during the last years, the decline of Spanish economic areas such as the Manufactures (The loss of power in manufactures sector is an almost general European phenomenon.) or Building sector has had a reflection on the German economy and vice versa, so the economic interdependence o both countries is real.
*Foto with Mr. Markus Kemper in the German Trade Chamber’s hall.
The explanations Mr. Kemper gave to the questions were quite brief but so concise and well structured that somehow you just wanted to know everything about the complex European economic system and all its secrets and curiosities. Sudden questions were constantly appearing while Mr. Kemper was explaining and one of it led directly to a small chat aside the interview about the desire to know what are the main differences between German and Spanish companies and why they have so different productivity results. He answered every small doubt and half smiling explained that what years have allowed him to prove is that in general the difference is mainly cultural. Mr. Kemper explained that Spain has a serious problem of productivity growth shared with Italy and other, mainly southern, European countries. “The work productivity in Spain is lower than the European average”, the problem is that the annual growth rate of labor productivity in Spain or Italy is constantly one point lower than the German when the capabilities and the market competitive capacity they have are nearly the same.
We came together to the conclusion that Spain has amazing potential but doesn’t work as hard as it should. Other reasons could be the reduction in 70% of the business services offered by the state since 2012, which leaves small and medium-sized enterprises unprotected and struggling to compete in the European market, or in many other cases, the owners of the companies are the culprits ignoring the true potential of their businesses and therefore do not take measures that fit their real needs. Mr. Kemper in convinced that Spanish people is not truly concerned about Spain’s huge and highly competitive market. “The service sector for example or the hostelry industry is more powerful in Spain than in Germany”.
When you talk to a person like Mr. Kemper asking about unemployment, one of the most serious problems in Spain seems to be obligatory. He is convinced that it is undoubtedly one of the most important aspects to work out, so on this subject, Mr. Kemper said that the German Trade Chamber for Spain, apart from advising companies on all aspects about the education field, can presume to have stood out for its involvement and commitment in Dual-Education helping more that 2.000 young students to enter to the labor market with the “best equipment”, something that as Mr. Kemper says has also benefited German companies, one of the most important foreign employment sources in Spain.
Talking to Marcus Kemper was a good experience and certainly a beginning class of economy. One of those conversations that ends giving you a great sensation of having learned some new valuable things. Our meeting helped me as well to realize that Spain has to advance in many things and to work lot of things out but also that it is certainly a country that can proudly contemplate the work carried out during the last years and look to the future with optimism, taking advantage of its incredible potential. I undoubtly recommend visiting the German Trade Chamber and enjoying a wonderful building that host a huge amount of conferences, seminars, expositions and talks about infinite different themes and that precisely this year celebrates its 100th anniversary.