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Business

US Companies Rate Germany Top Europan Business Location

US firms have said Germany is the best place in Europe to do business, according to a study published by the Boston Consulting Group. Companies said they have high hopes for the Obama administration's trade policies.

US and German flags

High-quality German products are especially attractive to US companies, experts said

A study of 61 major US companies, including Microsoft, Nike and McDonalds, placed Germany as the best place in Europe for American investments. It's the first time Europe's largest economy topped the Boston Consulting Group's poll since it began in 2004.

"Because clients are demanding more security in these troubled times, companies are placing particular emphasis on high quality products and processes," said BCG's head in Germany, Christian Veith. "This is what you find in Germany."

Fred B. Irwin, president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, which commissioned the study, said Germany's strengths outweighed its perceived weaknesses of high labor costs, heavy tax burdens and low economic growth.

US President Barack Obama

Not a single company thought Obama would be bad for trans-Atlantic trade

The research also showed that US firms have high hopes that US President Barack Obama's administration will improve trans-Atlantic relations -- and trade.

Some 86 percent of companies polled said US-German economic relations would improve, with 14 percent saying they would remain unchanged. None of the businesses that took part in the survey said economic ties would worsen under Obama.

Still, the ongoing economic crisis has impacted companies' mood. About 41 percent of firms said they would cut their German workforce in 2009, compared to 16 percent in 2008.

But one third of the US companies admitted that wanted to increase their investment in Germany in 2009. Some 17 percent predicted a reduction and just over half (51 percent) said investment levels would not change.

"Our members have assured us that Germany is still an especially attractive market because of its relatively stable housing market, high purchasing power and low household debt," Irwin said.

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