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The new geopolitics: impact on mechanical engineering

The war in Ukraine shows it relentlessly: we are in a geopolitical turning point. Geopolitics has become increasingly important for the mechanical engineering industry in recent years. Not long ago, the topic was only something for experts: globalization was at its peak and company leaders could focus on developing, manufacturing and selling innovative products and serving customers. Today, trade barriers are increasing worldwide and free trade institutions such as the WTO are in a permanent crisis. The world is in danger of disintegrating into competing power blocs. The dream of free trade is thus becoming a mirage. Risks to global exports are rising, and executives must learn to understand how the next international conflict will affect business. In short,
geopolitics is on their agenda today.

Ulrich Ackermann, Head of Department, VDMA Foreign Trade, explained in his presentation the new geopolitics and the impact that the looming “decoupling” between China and the US, is causing. This conflict is leading to a long-term change. The two largest economies are trying to shape the rest of the world with their visions for a global world order. Key elements for the success of the European economy – not only free trade, but also democracy and the rule of law, intellectual property protection and free competition – could be eroded. To counter this, convincing strategies in Europe are urgently needed.

Klaus Böhmer, Sales Director International, reported from his own experience on WAGO’s strategy for dealing with the increasing geopolitical upheavals.In his presentation “The new global is local – What does this mean for a medium-sized company?” he explained how WAGO uses its existing infrastructure and optimizes it regionally. By strengthening the regional importance of establishing global production sites, WAGO creates short supply routes and reduces dependencies on one location. This provides greater security for customers and, at the same time, greater independence for WAGO itself. Customers appreciate the local supply, because it gives them more security.

​​​​​​​The goal of this online event was to find answers to how companies are experiencing the increasing protectionism in the triangle of the USA, China and the EU, what it means for the German mechanical engineering industry and what strategies companies can use to protect themselves from the consequences of protectionism.


The event was offered by VDMA in cooperation with ProduktionNRW. ProduktionNRW is the competence network for mechanical engineering and production technology in North Rhine-Westphalia and is run by the VDMA NRW. ProduktionNRW sees itself as a platform for networking, informing and marketing companies, institutions and networks among themselves and along the value chain. Significant parts of the services provided by ProduktionNRW are funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).