Campaign "Thank you, free trade" struck a chord

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Free trade and open borders are indispensable for prosperity and the preservation of many jobs in Germany and Europe. This applies all the more in times when protectionists are increasingly trying to restrict international trade.

The VDMA has therefore campaigned against customs duties, trade barriers and other barriers with the help of its social media campaign "Thank you, free trade", which has now ended as planned. "It was important that we raised our voice loud and clear in the name of our members as an export-oriented engineering industry. In the numerous posts on Facebook and Twitter, we advocated free trade with facts as well as emotional arguments. I think we have all learned from each other in this debate," summarizes Ulrich Ackermann, head of the foreign trade department at VDMA.

Over the past two years, the campaign has helped to give many people a different perspective on the subject of free trade and convinced them of the importance of open borders for mechanical engineering and industry as a whole. "The last average of 260,000 impressions and 4700 interactions per week show that the campaign has struck a chord," says Ackermann.

"The last average of 260,000 impressions and 4700 interactions per week show that we have struck a chord with this campaign".

The subject of free trade remains on the agenda of the VDMA even after the end of the campaign. Mechanical engineering from Germany, but also from all over Europe with its approximately 4 million employees, is one of the biggest winners of globalisation. Currently, the export share amounts to about 80 percent and the German mechanical engineering industry was able to successfully defend its title as export world champion last year. This success model is acutely endangered by the increasing protectionism worldwide. The current corona pandemic is acting as a fire accelerator here. It is not only classic protectionist instruments such as customs duties and technical barriers to trade, but also joint venture compulsion, subsidies for local firms and export promotion instruments of third countries that violate the OECD consensus. According to VDMA estimates, around 35 percent of mechanical engineering exports to third countries are affected by trade barriers.

The final video of the "Thank you, free trade" campaign of the VDMA can be found here.