Tuesday, 06 Dec 2011
Overseas Business Risk - Germany
Political and Economic
Visit the Germany Background and Geography page for general political and economic information.
More information on political risk, including political demonstrations, is available in FCO Travel Advice.
Business and Human Rights
Germany’s constitution, Basic Law, provides extensive protection of individual rights and civil liberties. It has ratified most international human rights treaties, including the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, though not the United Nations Convention against Corruption. Germany has also ratified all major ILO conventions relating to fundamental labour and employment rights, and plays an active role in the ILO’s Governing Body.
Employees have the right of assembly, free speech and membership of trade union organisations in Germany. Members of unions have the right to strike, but Germany has traditionally had a low strike rate, largely owing to the involvement of social partners (trade unions and employer organisations) in setting labour and social relations as well as collective wage bargaining. Despite a number of high-profile bribery scandals over the past decade, Germany and its public administration remain free of pervasive corruption. Germany was ranked 13 out of 183 in Transparency International’s 2012 Corruption Perceptions Index.
Women’s rights are well protected under anti-discrimination laws. While women are now well represented in government, where they currently hold 6 of the 16 federal cabinet positions and 33% of the seats in parliament, they remain underrepresented in business and in the membership of top boards. Gender wage gaps, nevertheless, persist in Germany, with women’s wages and salaries approximately 23 percent less than men’s wages for the same work. Limited same-sex partnership rights are respected, but currently do not extend to pension claims. The rise of right-wing violence, particularly against foreigners in eastern Germany, raises some concerns about xenophobia and minority protection.
Bribery and Corruption
Bribery is illegal. It is an offence for British nationals or someone who is ordinarily resident in the UK, a body incorporated in the UK or a Scottish partnership, to bribe anywhere in the world.
In addition, a commercial organisation carrying on a business in the UK can be liable for the conduct of a person who is neither a UK national or resident in the UK or a body incorporated or formed in the UK. In this case it does not matter whether the acts or omissions which form part of the offence take place in the UK or elsewhere.
According to the Transparency International’s corruption perception index Germany ranked in 14th place in 2011 (UK 16th).
Read the information provided on our Bribery and corruption page.
There is a general threat from terrorism in Germany. Such attacks could be indiscriminate, including in public places frequented by expatriates and foreign travellers. After specific information came to light about a terrorist plot against Germany in November 2010, the German government heightened its assessment of the threat. It has consequently taken measures to enhance security throughout the country and specifically at public buildings, tourist attractions, train stations and airports. Similar threats were also made in the run up to Federal Elections in 2009 when al-Qaida warned against attacks if the incoming government refused to withdraw German troops from Afghanistan. Two previous terrorist plots, on regional trains in 2006, and on US interests throughout southern Germany in 2007, failed
Read the information provided on our Terrorism threat page.
Protective Security Advice
The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure also provides protective security advice to businesses
You should take normal, sensible precautions to avoid mugging, bag snatching and pick pocketing. You should be extra vigilant at airports and railway stations. Do not leave valuables unattended. The revised EU-wide security measures that came into effect for all passengers departing from UK airports in November 2006 are also being implemented in Germany. Body scanners are being piloted at Hamburg, Munich and Frankfurt airports.
Read the information provided on our Protective security advice page.
IP rights are territorial, that is they only give protection in the countries where they are granted or registered. If you are thinking about trading internationally, they you should consider registering your IP rights in your export markets.
For information on registering your intellectual property in Germany, you should contact:
Deutsches Patent- und Markenamt
Website: DPMA - Startseite
Read the information provided on our Intellectual Property page.
Read the information provided on our Organised crime page.
More information is available on overseas business risk in a range of markets.