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Economy minister: Germany must step up pace of innovation

July 10, 2019


Abstract : Germany must make more efforts when it comes to developing important technologies of the future, according to Economy Minister Peter Altmaier.

CAPTION: Peter Altmaier (CDU), Federal Minister of Economics and Technology, travels to the US to find out about the technology of the future. (picture alliance/dpa)

Germany must make more efforts when it comes to developing important technologies of the future, according to Economy Minister Peter Altmaier.

"We must do everything possible in Germany to step up the pace of innovation," Altmaier said on Monday after meeting Google managers at the IT giant's headquarters in the Californian city of Mountain View. "Our goal is for Germany to remain a leading industrial country in terms of digitalisation."

Altmaier said that he discussed autonomous vehicles and other future technologies with the Google managers.

The minister had already pointed out in his industrial strategy that Germany and Europe are falling behind on new technologies, an area in which US and Chinese firms are particularly strong. Altmaier wants more European "champions."

Asked if the digital tax had also been a topic during his talks with Google, Altmaier said that this is issue is being discussed at the level of the European Union and G20 and is not being raised bilaterally with companies.

The main problem, according to the minister, is that there are incentives in a very strongly globalised world to reduce the taxes one pays. This issue does not concern only Google, he said, adding that politicians should use laws to ensure that there is fair taxation around the world.

Internet giants such as Google and Facebook pay significantly less taxes than classic industrial firms because they are barely covered by current tax rules. The G20 group of the world's most important industrialised and emerging countries in June agreed a joint declaration on stepping up the taxation of large corporations.

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