Stefan Mair © BDI

“German Business Matters” in the United States

For decades, German companies have not only contributed to U.S. economic growth and U.S. exports. They are job-motor and educators, thus also contributing to the U.S. society. The initiative “Wunderbar together. Germany and the U.S.” offers a unique opportunity to showcase German business in the United States as a strong partner for investment and jobs, says Stefan Mair, member of the BDI Executive Board.

What is the nature of transatlantic relations and what challenges do we face?

For decades, German-American relations have been characterized by a strong foundation of shared values, traditions, interests, and goals. The two countries also share a close economic connection. In 2017, the United States was Germany’s third largest trading partner overall and the most important export market in merchandise products. From the perspective of the United States, Germany ranks sixth as an export destination. Germany also plays an important role in the area of direct investment: German direct investment in the United States amounted to 373 billion U.S. dollars, making Germany the fourth most important investor in the United States. Trade policy relations have become more strained in recent years, and the political environment is today more complex for German companies than in the past. Nonetheless, the country remains a very attractive trading partner and location for production.

Both countries are facing enormous challenges. We are grappling with the future viability of the EU and have to respond to multiple crises within the Union and in our neighborhood. The United States has to overcome the deep political and societal divide, which has handicapped the country. Both the EU and the United States are currently undergoing a transformation, the full extent of which cannot yet be determined: Digitization is impacting all areas of our societies.

Why should German business participate in the Deutschlandjahr?

Above all, the initiative is an invitation for dialogue on important topics of future concern. These topics include freedom, diversity, and responsibility; digitization, innovation, and the future of work; energy, climate, and sustainability; research, science and education; German heritage and language; culture and lifestyle. To this end, it is essential to reach as many people as possible – especially those who live in the heart of the country. This initiative provides a good opportunity to recall common values that stem from our history and to revitalize ways of working together, also beyond Washington D.C.

“Wunderbar together” is also a great opportunity for companies. German business can increase its visibility in the United States. Companies can highlight their contribution to investment and jobs. With this initiative, German business is offering to work together with their U.S. counterparts on developing sustainable solutions to today’s and future challenges. German companies are part of the solution – as strong and fair partners, they contribute to the success of the U.S. economy.

Why is this initiative important for business?

“Wunderbar together” provides an opportunity for a deeper exchange between our societies – about our commonalities and our differences, but also about how we can give new impetus to our partnership. The United States continues to be an attractive destination and market for German companies. In view of the German economy and its important role in the United States, we want to underline that German innovation and technology can contribute to sustainable solutions in the United States. This initiative offers a wide range of opportunities for German companies to present themselves to the American public as well as decision-makers from politics and business. We want to invest in transatlantic relations and bring our societies closer together again. We are convinced that there is an increased interest in Germany within the United States, not least because of Germany’s cultural identity, its large economic, technological, and scientific potential, as well as its leading role in Europe.