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TBIC 2020: AmCham EU CEO offers perspectives on transatlantic economic relations

18 Nov 2020
All Committees

Out of crisis comes opportunity. An opportunity for the EU and the US to return our economies to strong, sustainable economic growth. That was the message that Susan Danger, CEO, AmCham EU and her fellow panellists Nancy McLernon, President & CEO, Global Business Alliance; Markus Beyrer, Director General, BusinessEurope; and Peter Chase, Senior Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the US, imparted on their audience at the Transatlantic Business Investment Conference on Tuesday, 17 November 2020. Matthias Beier, President, Transatlantic Business and Investment Council chaired the panel discussion, titled ‘State of play: transatlantic economic relations and FDI trends.’

Susan opened by impressing upon the panel AmCham EU’s two key priorities: the long-term economic recovery in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the strengthening and deepening of the transatlantic relationship. Asked about the impact of the outcome of the US election on the relationship, Susan warned that we should expect no return to the status quo ante. A fundamental shift in narrative has led trade to become highly politicised. In the US, the domestic context would likely take precedent over the transatlantic alliance, she opined. Given this, Europe should grasp the opportunity to step up and take on more of a lead role in global affairs, as the US wants to see a strong Europe. On trade relations, she identified that the US and the EU should seek to make incremental progress on areas of commonality, including sustainability and digital transformation.

On the challenges and opportunities that the COVID-19 pandemic has presented, Susan pointed to the initial lack of coordination in the EU’s response to the outbreak, which led the Single Market to the brink of disintegration. However, she highlighted that the pandemic has brought into sharp relief the need for cross-border cooperation and the realisation that global problems require global solutions. Given this realisation, she noted her concern for the rise to prominence of the concept of ‘strategic autonomy’ in the EU and what this might mean for US companies with large European footprints. She reinforced her call for cooperation between the US and the EU to face up to global societal challenges – reminding us that the US and the EU thrive together.