What is the TBI?
The TBI is the point of contact for economic policy issues, particularly for the German government and the governments of the United States and Canada as well as for EU institutions. The initiative is supported by four business associations: The Federation of German Industries (BDI), 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).
The TBI provides companies with the opportunity to actively participate in the expansion of transatlantic relations and to develop proposals on selected policy areas for deepening transatlantic cooperation. Four steering committees will serve as the forum for this:
- Trade and investment policy
- Energy and climate policy
- Data and digital economy
- Business and finance
Why the Unites States and Canada?
Transatlantic relations have experienced some challenges in the past several years. Under the last president, the United States turned away from traditional partners and allies and withdrew from some international organizations. A trade and investment agreement – the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CETA) – has been negotiated with Canada. However, it has only been in force provisionally since 2017. While Canada has created all the conditions for the full application of this modern agreement, the EU has so far proved not to be a reliable partner. Germany is among the EU member states who have not ratified the agreement so far.
Among Germans, trust in the United States has suffered greatly in recent years, as recent surveys show: According to the Democracy Perception Index 2021 (survey period: February 24 to April 14, 2021), 36 percent of the Germans surveyed believe that the influence of the United States poses a threat to democracy in Germany. Only 33 percent said this about China, while 29 percent see Russia’s influence as a threat. In terms of global democracy, 51 percent of respondents describe the influence of the United States as rather negative, while only 32 percent consider it to be positive. Even if the perception of the United States has already improved compared to the previous year and a “Biden effect” can be noted, the values still show that a lot of trust remains to be regained. The TBI would like to contribute to this on both sides of the Atlantic.
On numerous occasions U.S. President Joe Biden and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken have emphasized the importance of the transatlantic partnership, including NATO. The United States rejoined the Paris Climate Agreement and the World Health Organization (WHO) shortly after President Biden took office. The United States is also demonstrating a renewed commitment to the G7 and G20. Joe Biden has stopped the troop withdrawal from Germany, which his predecessor had announced.
Despite skepticism among the German population, it is abundantly clear to the German business community that the United States is and will remain our most important partner and ally outside of the EU. What is more, only together with the United States can we tackle major global challenges and convince other countries to pull together in the same direction: be it climate change, pandemic control (and better preparation for future pandemics), or even the defense of liberal values and human rights. Since these challenges are numerous, the transatlantic agenda of the coming years must also be shaped in a positive way. We hope that the EU and the United States can resume uninterrupted and close cooperation in the future.
German business would like to closely support the new start in the transatlantic relationship to make it as successful as possible. For this purpose, we have established thematic steering groups within the TBI on areas which are crucial areas for transatlantic cooperation: trade and investment policy, climate and energy policy, data and digital economy, and business and finance. We believe that through our expertise in those areas we can make a significant contribution to the reboot of transatlantic relations.
Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie e.V.
Bundesverband Großhandel, Außenhandel, Dienstleistungen
Deutscher Industrie- und Handelskammertag e.V.