Trade Nov-Dec Interactive - page 25

technical discussions on standards
and regulatory coherence.
In addition to meetings with govern-
ment officials, the delegation was
also able to hear from the transatlan-
tic business community at a lun-
cheon sponsored by the U.S. Cham-
ber of Commerce. The luncheon gave
Dr. Mair and Dr. Treier the chance to
share some of their observations
from the week’s meetings, while also
getting feedback on the interests of
German and U.S. companies in TTIP.
Key Takeaways
While the delegation took up many
issues during their time in Washing-
ton, a few points resonated through-
out the visit. Chief among these
recurring issues was data privacy. On
the political level, the delegation was
often asked to what extent the NSA
allegations would impact the
German-American relationship and
what, if any, role the issue would
play in German domestic politics.
Both Mair and Treier emphasized the
need for trust on both sides of the
Atlantic that extends not only to
diplomatic spheres, but to economic
and business relationships. To feel
comfortable investing and doing
business in the United States,
German businesses need to be
assured these fundamental rights.
The issue of labor and the role of
unions were also discussed in several
meetings. The BDI/DIHK delegation
was asked to what extent the
German unions have been engaged
on TTIP and what, if any, concerns
they have regarding the agreement.
The main labor concerns on either
side appeared to be the divergence in
laws governing unions between
Germany and the United States.
Despite these concerns, however, it
was often mentioned that, unlike
most free trade agreements that the
U.S. has entered into, American
labor groups did not immediately
pass negative judgment on TTIP.
Many attribute this to the fact that
TTIP is an agreement among equals
and as such, both parties uphold
high labor standards.
The third issue that received a lot of
attention during the visit was the
need to include businesses and
consumer groups in TTIP discussions
and consultations. American officials
and industry groups alike reinforced
the idea that the successful negotia-
tion and adoption of TTIP will
require the strong support of
business and industry groups on
both sides of the Atlantic. In what
many in Washington and Brussels
are describing as our “honeymoon
period” with TTIP, engaging and
building this momentum has come
somewhat naturally in these early
months. The more difficult task lies
ahead in ensuring that this momen-
tum is maintained throughout the
span of negotiations. To that end,
many in Washington underscored the
particular importance of German
businesses and industry in this
process, not only in light of Ger-
many’s role within the European
Union, but also considering the key
role which German companies play
in the U.S. business community.
German American Trade Nov/Dec 2013
About the Author
Elizabeth Livengood
Trade and Tax Analyst
“To feel comfortable investing and doing business
in the United States, German businesses need
to be assured these fundamental rights.”
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