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Business

Good Grades for Germany’s Economy

In a recent survey of American business journalists Germany was given overwhelmingly positive ratings for its economy. Only the high taxes and lack of customer service were criticized.

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A green light for Germany's economy

Three quarters of all participants in a survey conducted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany gave the country’s economy an overall rating of "good".

The survey, which targeted American business journalists in radio, TV and print mediums, was designed to measure international perception of Germany’s economic position and future strength.

Compared to a similar survey conducted in 1999, Germany faired considerably better. Some 77 percent of the Americans said Germany has an internationally competitive market. Three years ago only 40 percent of the journalists gave the German economy good marks.

No straight A's

Nonetheless the participants in this year’s study remained critical of several economic factors such as high taxes and social security contributions. Depending on one’s income, the combination of taxes and social security can consume 50 percent of total monthly earnings – a fact many Americans find alarming.

In addition, the journalists also complained about the high cost of living in Germany. 60 percent of those surveyed said Germany was too expensive.

The sluggish and ever-present bureaucracy as well as restrictive laws controlling market competition were high on the list of negative factors the journalists mentioned as hindering the development of the German economy.

The American journalists also criticized the restrictive opening hours for stores and businesses and a general lack of customer service. Nine out of 10 people questioned complained about unfriendly salespeople.

On the other hand the journalists had only praise for the quantity and quality of culture and leisure activities throughout Germany.

Future forecast

In terms of future economic trends, the survey showed that most of the journalists thought the university landscape in Germany needed to do more to prepare the next generation of business managers. Only 26 percent of the participants agreed that German universities equipped students with the skills needed for the new economy.

The economic policies from the Social Democrats and Green coalition received generally favorable marks. 84 percent of the American correspondents praised the governments tax reform proposals. But only one in three regarded the social security reform and the government’s actions to reduce unemployment as conducive to Germany’s future economic development.

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