As part of her bilateral consultations with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on February 4 and 5, 2019, German Chancellor Angela Merkel was accompanied by a 12-member economic delegation. It included board members of model German companies, such as Bayer, Siemens, Infineon and Brainlab, as well as the Managing Director of Strassburger Filter, a specialized supplier of filtration systems based in Westhofen, Germany.
One of the reasons for the trip was the entry into force of the free trade agreement between Japan and the EU on February 1, 2019. Against this backdrop, the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce held a Dialogue Forum in Japan with high-ranking business representatives, which was the focus of the German delegation’s visit.
In front of around 200 German and Japanese industry representatives, Julia Schnitzler, Managing Director of Strassburger Filter GmbH & Co. KG, and Joe Kaeser, CEO of Siemens AG, met with Japanese business leaders to discuss the value partnership between Germany and Japan and its prospects against the backdrop of global challenges. Julia Schnitzler emphasized that the new free trade agreement offers many opportunities and better market access, especially for export-oriented SMEs. Her company, which manufactures special filtration systems for blood plasma filtration, for example, has long benefited from the partnership between the two countries. It is currently in the process of establishing and deepening strategic alliances and partnerships with Japanese companies in order to be even more present locally.
Given the current uncertain global economic outlook caused by the trade dispute between the US and China, the free trade agreement between Japan and the EU has a strong signal effect in terms of market openness, high standards and reliability. Japan is currently expanding its production capacities in the pharmaceutical sector, which will open up many opportunities for German companies, Schnitzler added. “Japan is the third largest economy in the world after the US and China. The agreement is therefore a real milestone that German small and medium-sized enterprises very much welcome,” Schnitzler stressed at the event, which was moderated by Marcus Schürmann, Managing Director of the German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Japan.
Further stations of the business delegation, which was led by Ulrich Nussbaum, State Secretary in the Federal Ministry of Economics, were talks with Japanese business representatives, in which Chancellor Merkel and Prime Minister Abe also took part, as well as a visit to a laboratory for artificial intelligence of the electronics group NEC.
Strassburger Filter, which is now the global market leader with its special filtration systems for blood plasma fractionation, has had its own sales office in Shanghai since 2012.