The promotion of external economic affairs is one of the key issues addressed at the annual Conference of the Heads of German Missions in the Federal Foreign Office, being held this year from 8 to 11 September. Attracting business to Germany and promoting external economic affairs are among the core tasks of the 229 German missions abroad.
As in past years, a Business Forum will be held in the Federal Foreign Office, this year on Tuesday, 9 September. More than 900 representatives from some 450 German companies will meet the Heads of the German Missions (Embassies and Consulates-General) in order to discuss the opportunities and perspectives for German business abroad and Government support strategies.
Federal Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier and Dr Arend Oetker, the Vice-President of the Federation of German Industries, will both address the Business Forum. The theme of this year's conference is African development. The regional business fora on Tuesday will however look at all world regions. Supplementary one-on-one talks with the individual ambassadors will also be organized – and not just with the top export regions. Further group meetings will be held on external economic promotion and issuing visas for business travellers.
The chance to meet diplomats and other businessmen and exchange views is welcomed by many major firms and by numerous medium-sized companies, which form the backbone of the German export economy. The Business Forum has been organized in cooperation with German business regional initiatives and country associations.
Germany's economy is interwoven more than almost any other with the global market. Exports account for 45% of GDP. The export markets are thus crucial for Germany's economic future.
The German missions abroad advise companies active overseas, helping them to identify new areas of business, for example in the energy or environmental sectors. Above all, they open doors to government offices and provide useful contacts to support commercial projects. In this way the Federal Foreign Office helps tap even difficult foreign markets for services and products that were "Made in Germany". The Foreign Service thus plays a key role in safeguarding Germany's economic strength and jobs in Germany.
Federal Foreign Minister Steinmeier is regularly accompanied by business delegations on his trips abroad. And, as a rule, specific commercial issues also appear on the agenda of his political talks in each host country.