Duitse export: Analyse van de determinerende factoren

Dieter De Graeve
Kwaliteit van bedrijvennetwerk brandstof voor Duitse exportmotorOp dit moment staan de Duitse export en auto-industrie door enkele schandalen even onder druk, maar dat doet niets af aan het feit dat Duitsland er als enige grote Europese macht in geslaagd is om de financiële en economische crisis volledig en snel te doorstaan. Dat heeft het land in grote mate te danken aan zijn enorm sterke exportpositie. Dit succes is onder meer te danken aan een (politieke) ideologie gericht op kwaliteit op verschillende vlakken.

Duitse export: Analyse van de determinerende factoren

Kwaliteit van bedrijvennetwerk brandstof voor Duitse exportmotorOp dit moment staan de Duitse export en auto-industrie door enkele schandalen even onder druk, maar dat doet niets af aan het feit dat Duitsland er als enige grote Europese macht in geslaagd is om de financiële en economische crisis volledig en snel te doorstaan. Dat heeft het land in grote mate te danken aan zijn enorm sterke exportpositie. Dit succes is onder meer te danken aan een (politieke) ideologie gericht op kwaliteit op verschillende vlakken. Het Duitse verhaal is in vele opzichten uniek.

Een busrit van om en bij de vijf uur brengt ons naar het centrum van de Duitse industrialisatie en het symbool van het Duitse exportsucces: het Ruhrgebied. De Duitse economie vertoont vandaag nog weinig zwakheden. Wellicht rondt Duitsland eind dit jaar, zelfs ondanks de tegenslagen in de auto-industrie, de magische kaap van 3 biljoen euro bruto binnenlands product. Dat is voornamelijk te danken aan de lage werkloosheid, hoge arbeidsproductiviteit en competitiviteit, waardoor hun exportcijfers hoog zijn en Duitsland enorme handelsoverschotten kan boeken. Daarnaast zal de - voor Duitsland – ondergewaardeerde euro er mee voor zorgen dat de exportcijfers hoog blijven.

De Duitse export teert voornamelijk op machines, voertuigen en chemicaliën en richt zich voornamelijk op handel binnen de Europese Unie. Dat maakt het Duitse model in vele opzichten uniek. Uit een analyse van de competitiviteitsdata, verzameld door het World Economic Forum van de 45 meest geavanceerde economieën ter wereld, blijkt duidelijk dat de enorme exportcijfers van Duitsland voornamelijk verklaard worden door enerzijds de grootte van hun interne markt en de ontwikkeling en anderzijds kwaliteit van het aanwezige bedrijvennetwerk. 

Dit betekent verrassend genoeg dat de impact van zaken zoals de efficiëntie van de arbeidsmarkt en de kwaliteit van het hoger onderwijs en de beroepstraining schromelijk overschat worden. Wanneer we de meest geavanceerde economieën vergelijken kunnen we stellen dat deze zaken het verschil niet langer maken.

Er is wel een hoge correlatie vast te stellen tussen de pijlers innovatie, technologie, infrastructuur en de kwaliteit van het nationale bedrijvennetwerk. Wanneer een geavanceerd land vandaag de dag het verschil wil maken op het vlak van export, wordt er in elk geval een bepaald basisniveau verwacht op het vlak van technologie, infrastructuur en innovatie. Dit is nodig om de mogelijkheid tot een kwalitatief bedrijvennetwerk van KMO’s en multinationals te kunnen waarborgen, omdat hier duidelijk het verschil gemaakt wordt. 

Extreme exportcijfers

Tijdens de analyse van de export- en competitiviteitscijfers van Duitsland werd, naast de doorslaggevende factoren voor het exportsucces, ook de unieke positie van de Duitse export nogmaals duidelijk. Wanneer we de exportcijfers van de 45 meest geavanceerde economieën vergelijken, zien we duidelijk twee landen afwijken: de Verenigde Staten en Duitsland.

De uitvoer van beide landen is enorm, en het mag dus geen verrassing zijn dat, op Japan en Zwitserland na, deze landen het hoogst scoren op het vlak van kwaliteit van het nationale bedrijvennetwerk. (Noot: China werd nog niet aanzien als volledig geavanceerde economie)

Unieke ideologie

Het Duitse exportsucces komt natuurlijk niet uit de lucht gevallen. Het recept ervoor gaat terug tot de periode na de Tweede Wereldoorlog. In 1945 verwachtte niemand dat Duitsland in staat zou zijn om snel te herstellen van de economische (en sociale) schade die het land had geleden. Niets was echter minder waar. Dankzij een nieuwe munt, een onafhankelijke centrale bank, de grote hoeveelheid arbeidskrachten en de internationale acceptatie van Duitsland kon het land zijn rug rechten. Gecombineerd met een unieke ideologie, de zogenaamde ‘soziale Marktwirtschaft’, slaagde Duitsland er zelfs in om al vijf jaar na de oorlog in ware economische wonderjaren terecht te komen.

Ludwig Erhard legde de basis voor deze ideologie. Het is een combinatie van een kapitalistische marktstructuur en een sociale markteconomie. Elk Duits bedrijf en elke Duitse consument zijn nog steeds doordrongen van deze denkwijze. Een groot deel van de basis van de Duitse exportsuccessen kan hier worden gevonden, vanwege de sterke focus op vrije handel, vrije prijsformatie en kwalitatieve producten en diensten.

Terugslag

De hereniging van Duitsland in de jaren 90 veroorzaakte een recessie met hoge werkloosheid, wat uiteraard een enorme terugslag voor de groei betekende. Het zou tot aan het begin van het nieuwe millennium duren vooraleer er een oplossing gevonden werd. Het waren de politieke beslissingen gebaseerd op (arbeids)flexibilisering, loonmatiging en besparingen die de ommekeer hebben ingeluid. 

De grootste impact was voornamelijk afkomstig van de Hartz-hervormingen. De beslissingen deden de loonkost stabiliseren, de werkloosheid dalen en de export stijgen. Dit politieke beleid, in combinatie met de ‘soziale Marktwirtschaft’-ideologie heeft er uiteindelijk voor gezorgd dat Duitsland de financiële crisis van 2009 relatief goed kon doorstaan. Duitsland is daardoor een tot op vandaag van de grootste economische en exportmachten ter wereld.

Laagste uurlonen nog steeds in ex-DDR

Een van de grootste problemen waar Duitsland op dit moment mee kampt, zijn de regionale verschillen op het vlak van bruto uurlonen. Het lijkt aannemelijk dat die verschillen relatief beperkt zijn, maar dat klopt niet. In het voormalige Oost-Duitsland liggen de uurlonen zo’n vijf euro lager dan de uurlonen in het vroegere West-Duitsland. 

Op de figuur hieronder geeft de rode lijn duidelijk de scheiding aan tussen West en Oost en de regionale verschillen. Het is vaak op basis van deze gegevens dat wordt gesteld dat Duitsland met twee snelheden groeit. Anderzijds valt het wel op dat de loonkloof tussen mannen en vrouwen in het vroegere Oost-Duitsland gemiddeld zo’n 1 euro bedraagt, terwijl dat in West-Duitsland vaak oploopt tot bijna 5 euro.

Beslissingen voor de toekomst

Op langere termijn moet de Duitse politiek er voornamelijk op toezien dat het land aantrekkelijk blijft voor buitenlandse investeerders. Die denken sinds de economische crisis wel twee keer na over hun geldallocatie. De enorme inzet van Duitsland op de energietransformatie of ‘energiewende' maken het wel aannemelijk dat Duitsland wederom de juiste beslissingen voor de toekomst neemt. 

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Universiteit of Hogeschool
Master in Toegepaste Economische Wettenschappen - Bedrijfskunde
Publicatiejaar
2015
Kernwoorden
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