The World Manufacturing Forum aims to help boost the position of the Western world in global manufacturing.
Fiscal and debt problems in the euro-zone -- Germany's biggest export market -- are crimping the country's growth. A recent Bloomberg News report noted Germany's exports have been falling as demand has dwindled in neighboring countries. One of the reasons Germany has been active in helping to bail out crisis-prone European Union partners Greece, Spain, and Italy, is because of fears the economic contagion in those nations could spill across its own borders.
I see the efforts to promote manufacturing in Germany as part of the country's response to the transfer of production to lower-cost countries. Local politicians and companies are teaming up to boost manufacturing in the country because of concerns about the possible negative consequences of rising unemployment if manufacturing continues to migrate outside the West. This goal is reflected in the agenda for the World Manufacturing Forum. Here are some of the topics scheduled for consideration. You may draw your own conclusion from these:
Manufacturing -- a solution to the economic crisis?
Why manufacturing is important -- a European view
Living and working in an urban environment
How can policies ensure resource use efficiency?
What does industry expect from policy makers?
Technological solutions supporting resource use efficiency
Are current policies able to guarantee a sustainable use of resources?
Speakers on the various panels are drawn both from government and the private sector and include Herbert Von Bose from the European Commission; Ingo Rust, State Secretary, Ministry for Finance and Economy, Baden-Württemberg; Carlos Costa, Governor of the Central Bank of Portugal; and Göran Ottoson, CEO, LKAB Schwedenerz GmbH.
If Europe is to have a viable future in manufacturing, all these folks will have to join forces. I wonder, though, if they are swimming against the current here. Has China completely cornered the manufacturing economy, meaning the rest of the world must scramble for leftovers? Or is there still a role for high-cost countries like Germany and the United States? I am open to be convinced and will share insight from the World Manufacturing Forum with EBN readers over the next few days. Let me know your particular concerns by leaving comments on this page.
Bolaji Ojo is editor-in-chief of EBN, an EE Times sister site. This article was originally posted on EBN.com.