Responsible Coexistence with Autocracies in Foreign Economic Policy Making
The BDI underscores its commitment to companies’ global social responsibility. The issue at hand is the coexistence of different systems that while competing also have to cooperate with each other. Global challenges such as climate and environmental protection or poverty reduction require cooperation - also between different political and social systems. German economic operators are constantly in dialogue with foreign business and political stakeholders; as a matter of course this includes states that challenge our values. Countries such as China and Russia account for a significant share of German foreign trade and are important destinations and sources of foreign direct investment. German industry must be allowed to act according to its own values and to name deficits where they arise. However, companies must also be able to compromise on a day-to-day basis in order to create prosperity as well as opportunities for development and advancement at home and abroad. Even though the primacy of politics applies in international relations, companies play an important role when it comes to shaping third country relations - and must therefore position themselves and act upon political issues. German companies assume a share of political responsibility and advocate European values and universally recognized standards worldwide. The better the European Union (EU) is able to position itself globally with its value system and economic model, the more successful its ideas will be internationally. That is why it is important that the EU, along with partners, successfully positions itself anew as a value-based community. The well-founded necessity of imposing economic restraints on oneself in the form of high standards can only be justified if one's own influence is not permanently diminished and indispensable levels of competitiveness are subjugated to short-sighted cost-benefit analyses. This requires Europe to always gauge its standing and competitiveness. Hence, economic sanctions must always be considered and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Possible retaliatory measures and the particularity of other side’s potential response must always be taken into account.
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