Deals Down Under: An interview with Heiko Stumpf, Manager of the Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) office Sydney

Heiko Stumpf has been in charge of the Germany Trade & Invest (GTAI) ­office in ­Sydney, Australia since August 2018. Markets Germany talked to him about his ­experiences so far “Down Under.”

You have been with GTAI in Sydney for 10 months. What are your impressions of the city and Australia? Heiko Stumpf: I find the friendliness and open-mindedness of the Australians especially pleasant. The social hierarchies are rather flat, which also means that people are more approachable in business circles. Widespread optimism is also apparent. The country has not experienced a recession for 27 years, meaning young people have never known crisis periods. The country’s population is growing rapidly due to immigration from all over the world. As a result, Sydney is a vibrant multicultural melting pot. Australians are also quick to adopt technical innovations, making the country an interesting test market. What image do Australians have of Germany? Is “Made in Germany” recognized as a mark of quality? Are Australian investors interested in Germany? Stumpf: Germany is perceived very positively here. Australians, like New Zealanders, are very fond of traveling, and many take long trips to Europe in their youth. So it is not unusual to meet people with personal connections to Germany. German quality standards are highly regarded. Australians particularly appreciate the reliability of German products as well as the good after-sales service. On the other hand, Australian companies are also interested in Germany. As the Australian market is comparatively small, with a population of 25 million people, companies often seek out growth opportunities overseas. Interest in Germany should continue to increase in the coming years if the free trade agreement currently being negotiated between Australia and the European Union (E.U.) is successfully concluded.

Read the full interview here