July 31, 2015
By Susan Danger, Managing Director at AmCham EU.
For over half a century, Europe and the US have stood together as key partners and great friends. Built on a foundation of economic and political ties and bound by a series of enduring values and interests, our relationship remains extremely strong. AmCham EU helps to foster this cooperation through its annual corporate “Doorknock” delegation to Washington, a yearly event for our members to discuss with US stakeholders key issues affecting the transatlantic business community. Our 2015 visit, just last week, also coincided as usual with “Transatlantic Week,” an annual delegation to the US organised by the Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN) of EU politicians, business leaders and academics to promote closer ties between our governments and peoples.
A point repeatedly stressed throughout our Doorknock meetings in Washington was the ongoing importance of the transatlantic partnership in helping to meet the many challenges faced by US business in Europe. Speaking with US House of Representatives Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, as well as with a range of US officials and lawmakers, it was made clear that while we all face many complex issues, they also trust that we are better able to solve these issues together, as partners. This is also a belief shared in Europe by leaders across the political spectrum and in the business community.
That is why AmCham EU and businesses of all shapes and sizes in Europe are speaking out in favour of the negotiations for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement. Our shared economy already generates over €5 trillion in sales every year and supports over 15 million jobs. A comprehensive TTIP will further integrate our economies, set global trading standards for the rest of the world to follow, and send a signal of resolve that the transatlantic partnership is here to stay. Encouragingly, US officials stressed to us that the strength of our relations means that TTIP should be a relatively straightforward conversation in the US – in contrast to America’s politically challenging negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) with 12 other Pacific nations.
There is, however, much work still to be done. In the US, the passage in Congress of Trade Promotion Authority (TPA) was welcome but consumed significant time, energy and resources. US attention also remains fixed in part on efforts to conclude the TPP. In Europe, TTIP remains a subject of vigorous debate among stakeholders and citizens, despite the strong endorsement for the talks by the European Parliament in July and the vocal support lent to the agreement by leaders at the G7 Summit in June.
Our delegation visit to Washington reinforced to me that the transatlantic partnership is as critical today as at any time since its formation. Now more than ever, we must work together to secure the well-being of our citizens. Concluding TTIP will go a long way towards this important goal.