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GKV calls for growth agenda and rejects plastic tax

Dr. Helen Fürst, President of the German Association of the Plastics Converters (GKV)

The Gesamtverband Kunststoffverarbeitende Industrie e.V. (GKV) sees the industry in a difficult situation and is urging that the plastics tax be waived.

At its annual economic press conference, the association of plastics processors drew a mixed picture of the past year: the industry recorded a year-on-year decline in turnover of around six percent to 72.5 billion euros in 2023. According to the member survey, companies' business expectations for the current year are also rather subdued, explained GKV President Dr. Helen Fürst. The situation is similar for profits. Only just over a quarter of the companies surveyed expect an increase in 2024. According to the GKV, the decline in orders is resulting in short-time work and a halt to investment for many companies in the sector. Another cause for concern, as GKV Managing Director Dr. Oliver Möllenstädt explained, is that a significant proportion of the companies surveyed had reduced their headcount in 2023 and 24% of the companies surveyed had announced further job cuts for 2024.
According to GKV, the reason for the decline in turnover lies in the current unfavorable conditions for German industry. According to the association, the fact that companies are also reluctant to invest is also due to the uncertain future prospects for industry in Germany. "The causes of the current economic crisis in Germany are predominantly structural in nature. We therefore need a future-oriented growth agenda so that industry in Germany can pick up speed again in two to three years," says Fürst. The agenda should address the issues of energy, bureaucracy, investment and digitalization in particular. "I am convinced that the growth agenda can solve the most urgent problems of our economy, restore reliability and lost trust and give people in Germany new confidence," said Fürst. She named four points that the agenda should contain: "1. Germany must not forget the energy-intensive SMEs in the transformation process. 2. innovation and value creation arise from clever ideas in companies, not from a flood of regulations and bureaucracy. 3. right of way for investments. A clear no to the plastic tax! 4. Germany must exploit the opportunities of digitalization more consistently than before." With regard to point 3, the GKV is calling for the immediate abandonment of the "plastic tax" postponed by the German government until 2025. By this consumers would be asked to pay a part of the EU membership fee. "Reaching into consumers' pockets will not improve anything for the economy or the environment. Postponing the plastic tax for a year promotes uncertainty and is not a solution," said Fürst.
Despite the difficult framework conditions, the member survey showed progress in increasing sustainability. For example, demand for recycled plastics was on the rise. Almost every second member company reported having processed more recyclates last year than in the previous year, and the companies also expect a further increase in the quantities of recycled plastics processed in 2024. In addition, 24 percent of companies now state that their production is largely climate-neutral.
Further informationen: download the press conference documents (in German)

  • GKV press release (14.2.2024)
  • Photo: © GKV

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