Germany and France move towards high-tech alliance

(dpa) - German and French business leaders moved Tuesday to help one another in the computing industry after being urged the previous evening by visiting President Nicolas Sarkozy to act as friends.

"On the one hand we are competitors, but on the other hand, harmonized strategies can advance us both in many sectors," said August-Wilhelm Scheer, president of the German computing industry federation Bitkom.

He said such an alliance was needed to cope in a business where some Asian rivals were "very aggressive" on the world market.

At the CeBIT computing trade show in Hanover, Sarkozy had the previous evening defended actions by Paris to protect its "national champions" and called for more industrial cooperation with Germany.

Bitkom and its French counterpart, Syntec Informatique, announced Tuesday a joint office to help one another's firms establish sales operations in the other country, providing handbooks and market data.

"This cooperation will especially help the smaller companies," said Jean Mounet, president of Syntec Informatique, at CeBIT.

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