April 4, 2023
By Joe Affsprung, Global Business Development Manager
Germany is, by far, the largest economy in Europe, and neck-and-neck with Japan as the 4th largest economy in the world. Few nations are as interconnected with the US market as Germany, as South Carolinians have known very well since the early 1990s when BMW arrived in the Upstate. CRDA devotes careful attention to cultivating leads and relationships in Germany and traveling there several times a year to meet with companies and consultants to discuss Charleston’s opportunities.
In February, Global Business Development Director Megan Anderson and I spent a full week in southern and western Germany meeting with 10 companies in diverse industry sectors including e-mobility, life sciences, advanced manufacturing, robotics, renewable energy, software, and consumer goods manufacturing. Due to news coverage this past year of rising energy costs as the German energy industry de-coupled from Russia, I expected our conversations to be at least somewhat colored but that wasn’t the case. Maybe some industries are fleeing energy prices, but the main drivers for our region’s targets seemed to be rooted in the massive size of the American market, the internationally recognized demographic and economic shift to the Southeast (particularly in the mobility space), and the well-known federal industrial policies incentivizing domestic production in strategically-important industries. Overall, our meetings were very positive, and we are continuing the dialogue with all prospects to advocate the Charleston region as their next American location.