U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council: Momentum for More Transatlantic Cooperation
Transatlantic relations are of enormous importance for the German economy. In 2021, the United States was Germany’s top destination for merchandise exports with goods worth almost 122 billion euros being shipped to the United States. In terms of imports, the United States ranks third behind the People’s Republic of China and the Netherlands with an import value of 72 billion euros. The two transatlantic partners are also closely linked in terms of investments: in 2020, German companies’ foreign direct investment in the United States amounted to 564 billion U.S. dollars (in third place after Japan and Canada), while U.S. companies had invested 162.4 billion U.S. dollars in Germany (FDI stock). Further deepening political and economic ties would help the post-pandemic economies on both sides of the Atlantic.
Transatlantic Dialogue: U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council
An attempt to revive transatlantic relations is the establishment of the U.S.-EU Trade and Technology Council (TTC). The TTC came together in Pittsburgh at the end of September 2021 for its first meeting. Under the leadership of U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, U.S. Trade Representative Katherine Tai and the two Executive Vice Presidents of the European Commission Margrethe Vestager and Valdis Dombrovskis, ten working groups were launched to discuss joint transatlantic approaches.
On May 15 and 16, 2022, the second ministerial-level meeting of the TTC took place in France. The TTC sends a much-needed powerful signal of transatlantic solidarity and unity, and for closer cooperation between the transatlantic partners. The joint statement includes, for example, announcements on joint initiatives and closer cooperation between the EU and the United States on export controls, semiconductors, reducing dependencies in critical supply chains and cooperation in the area of standardization. In addition, the transatlantic partners want to reduce bilateral trade barriers and establish an early warning mechanism for third-party trade measures.
Levers for More Transatlantic Cooperation
The BDI considers the TTC to be a useful format to deepen and strengthen transatlantic relations. Particularly in view of the Russian attack on Ukraine, German industry is pleased that the United States and EU are cooperating more closely than they have in decades. Concrete action should now follow the political commitments. The work programs of the ten working groups should be translated into action.
The dismantling of trade and investment barriers should not be pushed into the background and should be implemented in a sustainable manner. The TTC should therefore work to abolish industrial goods tariffs and mutually recognise conformity assessments in the transatlantic market. For the continuing success of the TTC, it is also important that stakeholders are closely involved in the discussions. Additionally, it is essential that decisions made jointly are swiftly implemented on both sides of the Atlantic.
New Regional Initiative of German Business - the Transatlantic Business Initiative
German business also intends to make substantial contributions to a successful new phase in transatlantic relations. To this end, the BDI, together with the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK), the Federation of German Wholesale, Foreign Trade and Services (BGA) and the Association of German Banks (BdB), founded the Transatlantic Business Initiative (TBI) in June 2021. The initiative works to strengthen economic relations between Germany, the United States and Canada and acts as a point of contact for economic policy issues - for the Federal Government, the governments of the United States and Canada, and for EU institutions. Thematically, the TBI is positioned in the areas of trade and investment policy, energy and climate policy, digital and data economy as well as corporate finance.