Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement touted at Hannover Messe opening
The U.S. and E.U. must embrace trade deal, Merkel asserts at conference kickoff event
Hannover, Germany—Get ready for TAFTA.
With key U.S. industry representatives in the audience at the opening of the 2014 Hannover Messe, German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, touted the importance of the proposed Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement as a key relationship to enhance global trade and economic growth. The proposed free trade relationship would bring together the world's two largest economic and manufacturing powers under one set of trading rules. From that also would emerge a combination of standards and regulations, which has brought concerns on both sides of the Atlantic.
Among the attendees at this year's Hannover Messe are Tom J. Donohue, president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, and Jay Timmons, president of the National Association of Manufacturers. They will be part of a Monday afternoon U.S. Trade and Investment Event at Hannover Messe. Participation by U.S. companies and by U.S. national and regional economic development leaders at Hannover Messe has steadily grown in recent years as manufacturers look for new global markets and states look to create an environment for foreign-owned manufacturers to locate in the U.S.
Merkel touted the similarities between the two regions in her opening remarks. "Should these two big economic regions, which have strong ties in their values, not be in the position to agree on a free-trade accord, it would actually be paradox in world history," she said to more than 5,000 attendees at the opening ceremonies Sunday night.
The Netherlands is a 2014 Partner Nation of Hannover Messe, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte was greeted by Merkel as part of Sunday night's opening ceremonies. The Netherlands has more than 200 exhibitors at this year's Hannover Messe, the world's largest industrial trade show. More than 250,000 attendees and more than 5,000 exhibitors will file through the Hannover fairgrounds this week.
A major theme of this year's show is the importance of the Industry 4.0 concept. Also called Internet of Things, the convergence of production and IT information across the plant floor is an expanding field, and every major exhibitor at Hannover Messe will present products and solutions about Industry 4.0, a term used to describe the fourth Industrial Revolution.
Another major topic for the show is energy management, and that was reflected in the winner of the 2014 Hermes Award, presented at Hannover Messe to recognize achievement in industrial innovation. SAG of Germany won for its iNES product, an grid management system that converts traditional local grids in stages into smart grids by adding modular, decentralized and autonomous metering and control systems.
"We found the solution to be most compelling, both in terms of technical innovation and economic benefit. By optimizing the capacity utilization of existing grid infrastructure, it reduces the need for grid expansion, thereby yielding significant cost savings without compromising grid stability," said Dr. Wolfgang Wahlster, the jury chairman and Managing Director of the German Research Centre for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI).
"Energy system transformation" ranks alongside Industry 4.0 as one of the big, overarching themes at this year's Hannover Messe, according to Deutsche Messe's Managing Board member Dr. Jochen Köckler. The now award-winning solution developed by SAG GmbH is a major step towards energy system transformation because it provides a flexible approach to converting existing local networks into smart grids.
Plant Engineering will be providing daily coverage of the Hannover Messe conference at plantengineering.com.
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After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.