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13. Working Meeting of the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation

Professional discussions, personal encounters, and joint impulses – This year’s spring meeting of the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation offered a valuable platform of exchange for ministries, companies, and business associations.

The network of the German Alliance came together in Forchheim at the invitation of Siemens Healthineers AG. The meeting focused on a cross-sectoral dialogue about current topics in politics and business.

Andrea Ulbrich, Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Malte Harders, Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK), und Ted Ganten, Siemens Healthineers, opened the working meeting. They expressed their appreciation for the strong commitment of all participants. Finding practical approaches to overcome complex challenges requires to think outside the box of one’s own company – which is also highly relevant for the network of the German Alliance.

Ongoing Activities of the German Alliance

The secretariat provided information on the status of projects which are currently being implemented. The projects in Brazil and in different countries from the Western Balkan have just been completed during the past months. Six further projects will be completed by the beginning of 2024.

Political Priority Topics

Andrea Ulbrich (BMZ) provided an overview of the ministry’s four priority areas. These are: Global Health, Just Transition (transitioning to a climate-compatible economy), Fighting Poverty and Feminist Development Policy.

“Trade facilitation can be seen as a leverage effect,” she said, “and the projects of the German Alliance are already contributing directly and indirectly to these priorities.” In addition, Ms. Ulbrich emphasized that the exchange on these topics should also motivate to integrate new approaches into the project work and to ‘re-think’ trade facilitation.

Malte Harders (BMWK) emphasized the great consensus in the strategic orientation of both ministries. Trade facilitation can contribute to important dimensions such as safe supply chains, sustainability, and inclusion. Furthermore, the strengthening of multilateralism is of utmost relevance, especially in regard of current challenges. 

Current Issues in Global Trade

In addition to the political perspective, the participants looked at global trends with a significant impact on the daily business of companies and associations. In smaller groups they discussed topics such as blockchain and digitalisation, circular economy, customs classification, and challenges posed by geopolitical crises. The cross-sectoral exchange generated new impulses for possible linkages and was received with great interest by all participants.

Furthermore, the host Siemens Healthineers contributed a keynote speech on the topic of “Sustainability and Access to Healthcare”. The guided tour through the Experience Center at the company site in Forchheim gave insights into new developments in the healthcare sector and beyond.

The next working meeting will take place virtually in autumn 2023. If you are interested, please contact the secretariat for more information via