The advisory boards at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy are composed of panels of experts who advise the Federal Minister on special issues of economic policy. Memberships on these boards are honorary positions.
External economic relations advisory board
The external economic relations advisory board advises the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy on key issues relating to Germany's economic relations with other countries and regions (for example foreign trade, direct investment, technology transfer and industrial cooperation) and makes proposals on external economic policy. The board convenes twice a year in meetings attended by the Minister.
The five-member Council of Experts on Foreign Trade was set up by Ludwig Erhard in 1946 and later became the Advisory Board on Foreign Trade. In 1947, the Council of Experts on Foreign Trade was reformed as the 20-member Advisory Board on Foreign Trade for the American and British occupied territory. The Board held its first official meeting on 14 and 15 May 1947. In 1974, the Board was renamed the Advisory Board on Foreign Trade and Payments. The intention of the redesignation was show that German external economic relations do not consist solely of trade, but also of foreign direct investment, technology transfer, industrial co-operation, etc.
The external economic relations advisory board is a committee of experts representing almost every sector of the German economy (retail, banking, industry, agriculture, etc.). Board members have extensive experience in external economic relations and do not serve on the board as representatives of business associations. The members (currently 25) are nominated by the Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy. Terms of service are voluntary and limited to three years.
Themes covered at past meetings
In recent years, the discussions of the Advisory Board on Foreign Trade and Payments mainly focused on questions like:
- international competitiveness of German trade and industry
- German foreign direct investment
- global competition for raw materials
- multilateral trade policy (WTO Doha Round)
- New Transatlantic Economic Partnership
- rise of the emerging economies
- effects of the U.S. financial crisis