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BM Group: 14 November 2022

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made a historical reference to Behn Meyer at the Asia Pacific Conference

The 17th Asia-Pacific Conference for German Business (APK) was held on 14 November 2022 at Raffles City Convention Centre, Singapore, to serve as a forum for a deeper discussion of the recent economic trends in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region.

In his keynote speech, German Chancellor Mr Olaf Scholz recounted the story of Theodor August Behn and Valentin Lorenz Meyer to depict the importance of free trade and intercontinental economic partnership between Germany and the Asia Pacific region.

From a three-ship company trading "tropical goods" back in 1840, today Behn Meyer has evolved into a company with more than 1,000 employees in Southeast Asia and Hamburg, supplying high-end products from areas as diverse as the agricultural and life science sectors. This is all thanks to free trade, Mr Scholz added.

The chancellor, in his speech, also noted that Germany is very interested in strengthening its economic ties with Asia Pacific, and he believed that this connection would benefit both sides just as it did for Behn Meyer.

"When they came here to Singapore, they didn't run the business from distant headquarters in London, Hamburg, Paris or Amsterdam like most other companies of the time. 182 years ago, they decided to start their business here in Singapore. Behn Meyer & Co. thus became the first German company on this island. The first of over 2,100 German companies here today", he said.

Last but not least, Mr Scholz emphasised that innovation is essential to addressing major global issues, including climate change, global health problems, and food poverty as well as achieving carbon-neutral economies. Germany is home to many entrepreneurial pioneers with innovative solutions that can advance the region. Through collaborations, both sides can create new "business models that will set precedents worldwide".

The full version of keynote address as follow;
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