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Germany's shrinking steel industry collides with key state vote-2017 China(Shanghai)Int'l Stainless Steel Industry Exhibition
5/10/2017  Stainless Steel Exhibition
    Bloomberg reported that the threat of ThyssenKrupp AG shedding thousands of steel jobs in Germany¡¯s most populous state is turning into a campaign issue less than two weeks before the biggest electoral test heading into the national vote in September. With polls suggesting the Social Democratic Party at risk of losing its governing majority in a vote in North-Rhine Westphalia on May 14, local leaders from the SPD and Chancellor Angela Merkel¡¯s Christian Democratic Union are jockeying to defend the country¡¯s steel workers.

ThyssenKrupp, formed in 1999 through the merger of two iconic German companies, has been caught up in the political spotlight as it tries to restructure its steel operations in response to a global glut depressing steel prices. Unions oppose that effort, which they say will result in more than 4,000 job loses, as well as a proposal to merge the operations with Tata Steel Ltd.

Garrelt Duin, NRW¡¯s Social Democratic economy minister, said at a rally Wednesday outside ThyssenKrupp¡¯s plant in Duisburg, Europe¡¯s largest steel production site said that ¡°I don¡¯t want to imagine what will happen when the decisions are no longer discussed in German but rather in English, and when the decisions are not made in Essen or Duisburg but instead in London, the Netherlands or Mumbai. And that is why we do not want this solution.¡±

While Merkel defends the free trade that benefits German exports, the country¡¯s shrinking steel industry, which has shed two-thirds of its jobs in the last four decades, shows how advocating for globalization can be a double-edged sword, even in a nation where unemployment is at a record post-reunification low.

The fate of ThyssenKrupp¡¯s 22,000 steel workers in the state Germany¡¯s traditional industrial heartland and home to Bayer AG, Deutsche Telekom AG, Deutsche Post AG and all of Germany¡¯s biggest utilities is of particular concern for State Prime Minister Hannelore Kraft, whose SPD has close union ties and needs their backing to win another term. -2017 China(Shanghai)Int''l Stainless Steel Industry Exhibition

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