The head of Bosch, Europe’s largest car parts supplier, is urging European governments to focus on improving the EU’s competitiveness rather than worrying about the risks of doing business in China. Stefan Hartung, Bosch’s leader, believes that discussions about “de-risking” from China have overshadowed the need for Europe to strengthen its unified market. He points out the barriers and bureaucracy that companies face within the EU, which can be more challenging than doing business outside of Europe. Bosch, a major employer in the EU, made half of its sales outside of Europe last year. While Hartung believes that isolating oneself is not a solution to de-risking, he appreciates that the focus on the issue has prompted politicians to consider the interests of European companies. Hartung’s call for governments and Brussels to address the EU’s failings coincides with a decrease in enforcements against breaches of internal market rules. The European auto industry is also trying to keep pace with the global shift to electric vehicles, with China playing a significant role. Bosch, for instance, has invested billions in retraining its workforce for the electric vehicle era and in hydrogen technology.
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