Globalisation in Practice: A German Export Champion

Mathis Kuchejda © Schmidt + Haensch

German industrial companies have to prove themselves every day on the global markets. Mathis Kuchejda is President of the measuring and laboratory equipment manufacturer SCHMIDT & HAENSCH GmbH & Co. in Berlin. Furthermore, he is a member of the board of the BDI/BDA SME Committee. He gave BDI an interview concerning the challenges of globalization.

 

Mr. Kuchejda, which sector is your company involved in, and how would you assess the importance of the global market?

From the beginning SCHMIDT & HAENSCH GmbH & Co. has specialised in solving complex measuring problems in the field of quantitative fluid analysis. The great precision of our electro-optical methods produces highly reliable measurements. Apart from pharmaceuticals and food, another of our specialities is sugar analytics and process control, where we are the world leader. Our devices are also found in the petrochemicals and engineering sectors. As a highly specialised medium-sized company we would benefit from easier access to the U.S. market. More than 80 percent of our production is exported, to more than 80 countries. The U.S. market is especially important for us, because it holds considerable growth potential for our product portfolio.  

How are you affected by changes in the global markets?

Fundamentally, we profit enormously from the internationalisation of markets. Although we are a medium-sized company with regional roots in Berlin, our technical expertise has always made us at home in the world markets. In our global activities we have to observe continually changing rules and deal with non-tariff trade barriers. Even though we satisfy the German and European norms and regulations, we still have to apply for new certificates for the U.S. market. That represents a real barrier for us, and unnecessarily increases the cost of our products. Dual certification is superfluous and expensive. And sometimes, where the numbers of units involved is small, it is simply not worth our while. Ultimately the customer would benefit if there were less duplicate certification. And the rules also need to be made more transparent and comprehensible.

What political challenges need to be overcome to dismantle these barriers?

The conclusion of TTIP could make our transatlantic business easier and would also send a signal far beyond the EU and the United States. Governments must also succeed in dismantling trade and investment barriers worldwide. Not just tariffs, but also cutting back bureaucracy and ensuring security of foreign investments. The WTO is an ideal forum for this. But governments should also make use of all the other possibilities to push ahead with trade liberalisation, such as the G7 and G20 processes.