Posts Tagged ‘Germany’

BerlinThere is possibly a great cohesion between German-Asian relationships, especially in the not-so-distant future. That is, if head of Ernst & Young’s business center in Germany, Thomas Wirtz is to be believed. He said that: “While small and medium enterprises have been lagging behind when it comes to investment in ASEAN, including Indonesia, this is likely to change as 41 percent of the respondents expect the market to be more important than BRICS [Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa] as well as other regions.”

In a recent EY report, Indonesia was ranked number five among top destinations for German investment after Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos, where business projects from the world’s fourth-largest economy are still relatively low, thereby presenting wider room for growth.

Indeed, just a few weeks ago Germany’s finance minister announced that it would be applying for membership of the Asian Infrastructure investment Bank – seen by America as being a rival to the World Bank.

It seems also that German companies are hoping that the economic environment in Asia is only going to improve for them in the future. This is due to the Asean economic Community which is anticipated to lead to a true “integrated regional economy.” And that isn’t just Indonesia. In fact, Malaysia has become an increasingly popular hub for German investment. For example, figures for last year showed the implementation of 387 manufacturing projects worth RM26.8 billion from Germany into Malaysia, particularly in electric and electronics, chemical and chemical products, petroleum products, natural gas and rubber products.

So if these trends continue, Germany could likely become a major player in the east overseas.

Well, not exactly. But there will be some mega-German investments in China. BMW is currently planning to advance development of its work in China with “investments to increase manufacturing capacity.” According to the company’s board of management chair, Norbert Reithofer, the Chinese really like the BMW vehicles and “anticipate” more growth for the company for the future.

Mega Monies Investments

Hence the company in Germany is combining its efforts with their “joint venture partner Brilliance” in an effort to further develop the investment monies it announced before which was already significant at EU 560m. This will be taking place in Shenyang which is where their Chinese facility is. Now, the figure will be increased to EU 1bn.

This extra money will be split between BMW and Brilliance and be utilized for the construction of paint shop, press shop and to advance the Tiexi plant’s infrastructure in anticipation of greater production capacities hoped for the future.

German-Chinese Manufacturing Relations

Germany has had a good relationship with China vis-a-vis investments for a while now. For the last six years, there has been production in China of both the BMW 3 and 5 Series. Around a year and a half ago, BMW Germany said it was planning on constructing a second production plant in China “with the BMW X1 slated to begin production there in 2012.” Further, this renders China as BMW’s “third-largest market worldwide, with 167,116 vehicles sold in China during the last financial year.” The plan is that there will be an expansion of over 100,000 vehicles per annum at the first facility (Da Dong) and then at the second one, 200,000.

Increased Investment Opportunities for Armenia

Good news for Armenian investments. According to the country’s parliament chairman, Hovik Abrahamian, attempts are being made to push for investments in the transport and energy sectors throughout the BSEC countries.* As well, the greater cohesion between BSEC member countries, the better for all, especially since this is the current goal of the National Assembly of Armenia. This is bound to lead to an increase in investment opportunities for the country.

Armenia Develops Iranian Energy Cooperation

When Armenia attempts to work with Iran, according to Armen Movisyan (the former country’s Energy Minister), around 80 percent of cooperation between the two countries comes from the energy sector, at an estimated volume of $450 million. If a third transmission is built and a hydroelectric power plant on Araks River, this will further connect the two countries which could also ultimately lead to the goal of establishing a “North – South” transport corridor.

Armenia and Energy Security

According to Sevak Sarukhanyan (Armenia’s Deputy Director of Noravank Foundation), “energy security is the most important issue for Armenia, as the country was probably the first state in CIS and the post-Soviet area to be hit by a severe energy crisis.” The two factors that basically led to this crisis were the closing of the Metasmor nuclear power plant in the late 1980s and the shifting of the country’s energy production to thermal power plants utilizing natural gas and fuel oil.

So it does seem today that there is much work to be done in terms of political and economic cohesion between Armenia and other BSEC countries, as well as Iran. At the end of the day – political affiliations and aspirations aside – most countries want the best for their citizens and that usually means working with neighboring countries to acquiesce the best investments.

*Established in 1992, the BSEC comprises Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey and Ukraine with Austria, Germany, Egypt, Israel, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Tunisia, France, the Confederation of European Energy Charter and the International Black Sea having observer status.

Earth Hour took place on 26 March between 8 30 and 9 30 pm.  It is a time when people around the globe turn off their lights and make a “commitment to actions that go beyond the hour.”  According to the Earth Hour website, this year “our thoughts are with the people of Japan during this incredibly challenging and sad time for their country.”

Origins of Earth Hour

Earth Hour first emerged in Australia in 2007 as a way of conserving the world’s energy and natural resources which are depleting way too quickly.  This was a great first step but was also then leading to a climate change and is today a global event which is “being observed in more than 134 countries and territories,” coordinated by the World Wide Fund.

Delhi Saves 296 MW Power

Earth Hour was most effective in India.  During the hour more than a thousand individuals came together to dance away to loud rock numbers from the Indian band Euphoria, in complete darkness!  Lights weren’t needed for the energy to spike.  No one stayed home.  From toddlers to seniors, everyone joined in total cohesion to save electricity during the 8 30 to 9 30 Earth Hour.  According to DU student  Sharmishtha Chatterjee, “…it was very wise on WWF’s part to organize an event like this, where everyone was invited,” since otherwise many people would have just stayed home alone and ignored the event – and the idea – and not turned off their electricity.  Indeed, according to Sheila Dixit Delhi Chief Minister, “the city plunged in darkness for a brighter tomorrow….[with the] hope that Earth Hour sensitizes each one of us for making the shift to a better lifestyle.”

There’s Always One Party Pooper

Unfortunately at any party there’s usually one party pooper.  At this celebration it was clearly Toronto.  Millions of people from 134 countries — from Delhi, India to Heidelberg, Germany — switched off their lights and televisions for the fifth annual Earth Hour on Saturday night to show their support for action on climate change, but Toronto witnessed a measly 5 per cent power drop during the event, marking just 50 percent of the country’s achievements last year.  Nonetheless, it’s still seen as a “success” in the country.