Business News

Call to boost trade links with Germany

By Philip Parkin Dr Ulrich Hoppe: Anglo-German trade returning to normal

A key Anglo-German business leader believes both countries should work to boost trade links as the recovery from the coronavirus pandemic begins. Dr Ulrich Hoppe, director general of the London-based German-British

Chamber of Industry & Commerce, says there are now signs that trade between the two countries is returning to normal, despite coronavirus and the gloomy predictions prompted by Brexit. Speaking in an exclusive interview with Chamberlink, he added that there were still great opportunities for both countries to trade with each other, and that his organisation was committed to building links between the UK and Germany. Dr Hoppe said that his members were now more optimistic about

bilateral trade between the two countries than they had been in autumn 2020, which he put down to ‘distorted’ trade figures caused by stockpiling and the implementation of lockdown restrictions across Europe. He said: “Whatever the aspirations of the UK Government, this decline in

trade with geographically close partners will not be easily compensated by trade with more far-flung regions. International trade generally facilitates efficiency gains for all sides involved and opportunities for growth are now somewhat reduced. Therefore, we at the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce would like to encourage British companies to continue to look at Germany and other European markets, because opportunities so close to home are still relatively easy to seize.

“The same is true for German companies looking at the UK, which

continues to be an important market with 67 million consumers who hold German products in high esteem.” He said that a priority for both countries had to be the continuing fight

against coronavirus, and he added that it was in both their best interests to ensure the roll-out of vaccines to poorer countries. He added: “Otherwise, borders will need to be kept closed for longer,

with all the negative effects on economic growth which we must address in addition to the many other challenges in this world, ranging from climate change to migration. Germany will see an election later this year with a new Chancellor heading the next government. A modernising agenda, especially with regard to digitalisation, is urgently needed. “The industrial sector has largely embraced the new digital world, but

public administration and some in the service sector lag far behind. In my opinion, Germany could well benefit from looking at a number of best practice examples from the UK. “Over the coming months and years, the Chamber will continue to build

linkages over the Channel as, despite Brexit having made the Channel a bit ‘deeper’ and thus sometimes more challenging to cross, there are many areas of potentially fruitful cooperation, which both sides should continue to explore.”

Home of industrialist Watt is unearthed

Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of the former Birmingham family home of industrialist James Watt. The footprint of the large

Georgian semi-detached villa, where Watt lived with his family between 1777 and 1790, was discovered on the site of the former AE Harris factory in the Jewellery Quarter. Joint venture partners Galliard

Homes and Apsley House Capital (The Galliard Apsley Partnership) are redeveloping the four-acre site into a mixed-use residential-led scheme of 305 apartments and 100,000 sq ft of commercial space, called St Paul’s Quarter. During the site excavations,

archaeologists discovered the foundations and basement of the central block of the villa, which was split into two back-to-back houses. The two houses were set in a

large garden and had kitchens housed in ancillary buildings on either side of the main block. The house was originally called

Harper’s Hill, and later renamed Regent’s Place. After Watt moved out of the house it had several other occupants and gradually became subsumed into Birmingham’s growing Jewellery Quarter. By the 1870s it was

32 CHAMBERLINK June 2021

An aerial shot clearly showing the large footprint of the villa

Archaeologists on site at St Paul’s Quarter in the Jewellery Quarter

(Photo courtesy of: RPS)

surrounded by workshops and small factories and was eventually demolished in 1885. Jonathan Bloom, from Galliard

Homes, said: “James Watt was a resident of the area today known as the Jewellery Quarter for a number of years in the late 1700s, but it was still a surprise when the archaeological team unearthed the remains of his former home after all these years. Unfortunately, there’s not enough of the house remaining for us to retain within the scheme but in a nod to James Watt we will be naming the new road, linking

Newhall Street to Regent Place, Harper’s Hill.” James Watt was a Scottish

inventor and mechanical engineer, renowned for his improvements in steam engine technology. Together with fellow industrialist

Matthew Boulton, who owned an engineering works in Birmingham, at the time the largest factory in the world, Watt pioneered the manufacture and mass production of steam engines. Their company, Boulton & Watt,

became the most important engineering firm in the country,

with their steam engines being used in paper, flour, cotton and iron mills, as well as distilleries, canals and waterworks. The Galliard Apsley Partnership

has commenced groundworks at St Paul’s Quarter. The £125m+ scheme is the largest development within the Jewellery Quarter Conservation Area. As well as apartments and

commercial space, which will include affordable business and ground floor retail space, there will be a new public square in the centre of development.

(Photo courtesy of: Archaeology Warwickshire)

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