German business leader: ‘Our companies are very much focusing on governors’

By Anjalee Khemlani
Berlin | Oct 16, 2018 at 1:40 pm
Special Report

Joachim Lang, CEO and member of the board of management of the Federation of German Industries, gave Gov. Phil Murphy one piece of good news during a roundtable hosted Tuesday at Bayer in Berlin.

While Lang told the crowd that President Donald Trump’s policies have more German companies looking to Asia, it also is making German business leaders want to do business directly with state governors as opposed to the federal government, because they know governors have the authority to make certain decisions.

“Our companies are very much focusing on governors and their connections to governors,” he said. “We’re talking to the governors and to the Senators in the states where German businesses are. Together, the United States and Germany are responsible for 50 percent for world trade and we are responsible for 60 percent of foreign direct investments.”

Lang emphasized Germany’s impact on the U.S. economy — and specifically in New Jersey. (Bayer’s U.S. headquarters is in Whippany.)

“We have lots of companies, almost 700,000 people there being employed by German companies,” he said. “In New Jersey, you import from Germany $6.5 billion, and you export to Germany at more than $1.5 billion, so there is more business to come from New Jersey to Germany.”

One audience member asked Murphy how he is ensuring that moves made at the state aren’t easily undone, the way former President Barack Obama’s executive orders have been.

“In my little world, it’s a reminder that, the more you can do by law, and signing legislation and through the budget, the more lasting whatever that step will be,” he said. “We’ve done a fair amount of executive orders … few have been because we couldn’t convince the legislators to go along and give us a bill.”

Read all of ROI-NJ’s coverage of Gov. Murphy’s trip:

Anjalee Khemlani | akhemlani@roi-nj.com | AnjKhem