IHK AND HWK NEUTRAL ADVOCATES IN THE MARKETPLACE
Both companies and private individuals enjoy a high degree of legal security in Germany. The judiciary organs and a functioning administration guarantee the reliable protection of property rights. Germany as a business location is open to foreign investors and has only a minor shadow economy.
Both the Chambers of Commerce (IHK) and the Craftsmen's Guilds (HWK) with their branch offices in all regions guarantee the protection of the economy against any rigid attempts by the state to exert influence. In Germany, IHK membership is mandatory for all domestic companies (with the exception of the trades, freelance and agricultural professions). The trades are organized in the HWK. Companies pay a mandatory membership fee based on their economic performance capabilities. These membership fees guarantee the economic independence of the IHK and HWK from individual interests and state influence. Both see themselves as business institutions working for the economy and act as autonomous public-law corporations to represent the interests of companies and entrepreneurs vis-à-vis municipalities, state governments and regional state agencies. They perform public-law tasks and offer their members customer-oriented advice and competent mediation in all local, regional and national affairs.
DEMOCRATIC, SOCIAL, SAFE
According to its Constitution, the Federal Republic of Germany, founded in 1949, is a "democratic and social federalist state". It consists of 16 partially sovereign federal states. The political system is federalist and organized as a parliamentary democracy. The Constitution's state order is based on constitutional organs and stable legal and administrative systems. The separation of powers and multi-party system guarantee a stable democracy. Germany is a member of the United Nations, the European Union and the NATO.
Berlin is the country's capital city and seat of government, although some federal ministries are located in the former capital of Bonn. Germany is the most populous country in Europe, with more than 82 million residents.
The German economy is aligned to the principle of a social market economy. As such, the market is free to govern its own forces within certain limits whilst at the same time preventing the excessive accumulation of market power. The German state creates the framework for functioning competition and moderates between the various interests.