GA Trade May-Jun interactive - page 28

F
or the first time, the two senior
most German business represen-
tatives visitedWashington, D.C.,
together. Ulrich Grillo is the
chairman of the Federation of
German Industries (BDI) and Eric
Schweitzer serves as the chairman
of the Association of German
Chambers of Commerce and
Industry (DIHK). Their visit to the
capital of the United States included
numerous talks with congressmen,
members of the U.S. Administration,
and heads of business organizations.
BothMr. Grillo and Dr. Schweitzer
used the conversations inWashing-
ton to express the importance of
strong transatlantic relations for the
German economy. They advocated
for an ambitious conclusion to
negotiations on the Transatlantic
Trade and Investment Partnership
(TTIP). At ameetingwith U.S. Trade
RepresentativeMichael Froman,
the chairmen pointed out that the
agreement is not just about disman-
tling of existing trade barriers, but
also aims to strengthen the transat-
lantic partnership inmany business-
related areas in the future. They
reiterated that TTIP can foster trade
between the United States and the
EuropeanUnion, especially for small
andmedium enterprises.
A recurring questionwas how TTIP
is being depicted and discussed on
both sides of the Atlantic. The
consensus was that the current
discussion about TTIP in Germany
is one-sided and fails to recognize
the great potential of a stronger
transatlantic partnership. The talks
with several trade experts made
clear that concerns have to be taken
seriously and that negotiations are
not about lowering standards or
regulations. Instead, both sides need
to refocus the perception of TTIP as
a project with tremendous economic
and strategic potential.
During their 3-day visit, Mr. Grillo
and Dr. Schweitzer also talked about
other aspects of transatlantic
relations. The situation inUkraine
was offered as an example of the
particular importance of a transat-
lantic partnership in times of crises.
Vocational educationwas also
discussed. The GermanAmerican
Chambers of Commerce are
already very active in this field,
and the delegation announced they
W A S H I N G T O N U P D A T E
ByKevinHeidenreich, RGIT
Heads of German
Business inWashington
Left to right: Dr. ThomasZielke (President andCEO, RepresentativeofGerman Industryand
Trade), CarollH.Neubauer (ChairmanGACCNewYork), Dr. EricSchweitzer (Chairmanof the
AssociationofGermanChambersofCommerceand Industry (DIHK)), UlrichGrillo (Chairmanof
theFederationofGerman Industries (BDI)),MartinRichenhagen (ChairmanGACCSouth)
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GermanAmerican TradeMay/June 2014
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