Assistant Secretary of Commerce Michael C. CamuÑez
Market Access and Compliance
North America Global Exports Forum – Hannover Messe
April 4, 2011
As prepared for delivery
Good afternoon; Guten Tag. Thank you, Mr. Siebert, for the kind introduction; it is indeed a pleasure to be with you all today. I’d like to begin by thanking you, Dr. Fritsch and the leadership of the Hannover Fair for inviting me to be here today, and I want to congratulate all of you for the successful launch of what is, without exaggeration, the premiere international trade event in Europe. I’d also like to recognize and thank Ambassador Murphy for his remarks and his leadership. The United States is fortunate to have a person of the ambassador’s caliber and integrity representing us here in Germany. Thanks also to Fred Irwin for his thoughtful comments and leadership of the American Chamber of Commerce.
This is my first trip to Germany in my role as Assistant Secretary of Commerce, and I feel fortunate that it is beginning here at the Hannover Messe. The energy generated by the exchange of ideas taking place here is palpable. The fair leaves no doubt that Germany is a vital hub for global trade. It also represents a critical opportunity to deepen the transatlantic relationship between the U.S. and Europe. More than 160 U.S. companies, large and small, have made the journey across the pond. And I’m honored to be here with them and with my colleagues from the Department of Commerce to support this important gathering.
This year’s fair is taking place during a tumultuous time. We are only now beginning to recover from one of the worst economic recessions the world has seen, and we are a long way from achieving a full recovery. Many of our fellow citizens worldwide are still hurting, struggling to find gainful employment that offers a future and a semblance of financial security for themselves and their families. And if the economic recession alone wasn’t difficult enough, we continue to be hit with unforeseen events that challenge us all. The world’s third largest economy, Japan—a great ally of the United States and Europe— has been devastated by a natural disaster and the tragic events it unleashed. In North Africa and the Middle East, the thirst for freedom has led to unrest and a period of great uncertainty for the region and the world at large. But I think there is a silver lining in all of this. And that’s because recent events have forced us to think more critically about how we as a global community are now more interconnected and interdependent than ever before. And if this realization can lead to better policy choices going forward, I believe it can help us to emerge from the tumult stronger than ever.
This is, fundamentally, why I’ve come to Germany and to this marquee gathering of industry and government leaders. The Obama Administration believes the time is right for a sustained push to drive the kind of policy choices that will help lead the world to restored growth and renewed prosperity through enhanced collaboration and innovation. And the United States has no greater allies in this venture than Germany and the EU.
The Enduring Strength of the U.S.-German Partnership
President Obama has referred to Germany as “one of our closest allies and an indispensable partner.” Nowhere is that partnership more evident than in our political and economic relationship, which has been a focal point of American involvement in Europe since the end of World War II. Today, Germany plays a leading role in European affairs, and is Europe’s largest economy. It’s also a key partner in the U.S. relationship with the European Union.
Despite the difficulties posed by the global economic downturn, the close integration between Germany and the United States continues to generate prosperity for both our countries. Since the fall of the Berlin wall, our bonds have rapidly tightened, with American investment in Germany increasing more than four times and German investment in the U.S. soaring to seven times its level in 1990. Together, German firms operating in the U.S. and American companies in Germany control more than $1 trillion in corporate assets. And more than just impersonal numbers on a corporate balance sheet, these investments support the creation of more than a million real jobs for the citizens of both of our nations.
The U.S.-German Commitment to Strengthening Economic Growth and Trade Through the Transatlantic Economic Council
Germany has also been an important leader in strengthening the transatlantic relationship between the United States and the EU. That transatlantic relationship is based on shared values, especially a commitment to human rights, the rule of law, economic freedom, and the growth of strong, democratic societies. These shared values ensure the continued existence of the European-American partnership as we face new challenges in this time of rapid global political and economic change. Both the U.S. and the EU share a conviction that deeper economic integration and stronger transatlantic economic growth will improve the competitiveness of our national economies and will bring important benefits to the world economy at large.
With a 4.4 trillion dollar two-way trade and investment relationship, Europe remains the most profitable region in the world for U.S. companies, accounting for half of global earnings in 2008 – more than double total earnings from Latin America and Asia. Additionally, Europe is the most important source of “onshored” jobs in America and the United States is the most important source, in Europe – accounting for over 14 million jobs.
But as strong as our relationship is, our leaders recognize that we must do more to create jobs, stimulate sustained economic growth, and remove barriers to global trade. Under Germany’s leadership, especially that of Chancellor Merkel, the United States and the European Commission have created the Transatlantic Economic Council (or the “TEC” for short) to meet this challenge.
Because I think it’s relevant to the work all of you are doing here at this important trade show, allow me to spend just a couple of minutes describing for you what the governments of the United States and Europe are doing through the TEC to support the conditions that enable free trade and economic growth to prosper.
In the most basic sense, the TEC’s overarching objective is to advance and deepen the economic integration between the U.S. and Europe to foster innovation and economic growth. These goals are achieved through three primary streams of work: enhanced regulatory cooperation, which I’ll say more about in a moment, the strengthening of intellectual property rights, and the developing an innovation agenda that shares best practices for how to foster and replicate the “ecosystems” that support, nourish and grow innovative industries. The goal is to ensure that senior political leadership on both sides of the Atlantic is fully engaged to make this shared agenda a practical reality with demonstrable results. As the Assistant Secretary for Market Access at the U.S. Department of Commerce, I have the great privilege of helping to shepherd this important agenda as part of President Obama’s larger innovation and trade policy agenda, including the National Export Initiative, which you’ll hear more about from my colleagues.
Addressing 21st Century Challenges through Regulatory Cooperation
While there is much to say about the important work we are doing together to strengthen the enforcement of intellectual property rights and to develop an Innovation Action Partnership Agenda, I’d like to focus this morning on our efforts to advance greater cooperation in the development of regulations and standards, because these efforts, in my view, are at the heart of our ability to deepen our economic ties and accelerate the already high levels of trade between our respective economies.
As you know, regulators in both Europe and the United States have the same objective: strong protections for the health and safety of our citizens, financial systems and the global environment. Nonetheless, the U.S. and EU often take different approaches to regulation, and companies on both sides of the Atlantic constantly cite different and overly burdensome regulations and standards as limiting or obstructing trade. Much of the divergence is a consequence of important differences in our respective histories and legal traditions. But our different backgrounds should not prevent us from advancing our common goal to create more open, innovative and competitive economies.
The need for collaboration on regulatory convergence is especially critical in emerging sectors, where new technologies are driving the creation of entirely new markets in the global economy. Our governments must we work hard to create a regulatory environment and business climate that allows these new sectors to thrive, and we must take care that we not allow an overwrought and incompatible approach to regulation snuff out the very innovations that will keep us globally competitive. Toward this end, the U.S. and the EU have established a High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum, as part of the TEC, which ensures senior government engagement in Washington and Brussels, will drive this important agenda.
Examples of this are helpful, and I think one of the best examples of the need for this type of regulatory cooperation is the emerging e-mobility (or electric vehicle) sector, which is nowhere more evident than at the Hannover Fair. I had the good fortune to visit companies today that are on the forefront of e-mobility innovation—small businesses that are developing hydrogen fuel cells for energy-efficient vehicles. These companies are on the leading edge of technology and innovation, and our governments must do all we can to support their growth.
E-Mobility as a Paradigm for U.S. - EU Regulatory Cooperation
The development of a robust electric vehicle sector would be a worthwhile endeavor if all it did was reduce our dependence on oil and make for a cleaner environment. But it offers so much more. For one thing, it will create thousands of new jobs and a higher standard of living around the world. And the growth of this sector does not involve only automakers. It depends on a much broader ecosystem of companies, including parts manufacturers, clean technology companies, software developers, developers of testing equipment, and power producers. In addition, it will spawn technologies that can be utilized in other products that will, no doubt, improve our lives in ways we cannot yet even imagine.
None of that can happen, however, without coherent regulations and standards. Without them, these technologies may be wonderful, but they will not be compatible with one another. And the lack of compatibility and interoperability will impede the development of a truly global marketplace. Imagine, for example, a world in which you were not confident that you would be able to find a gas station that sold the only kind of fuel that would make your car run. You wouldn’t invest in that new technology because you would lack confidence in the market. In a similar way, a lack of consumer confidence will prevent this emerging technology from ever having a real chance to take root.
And so collectively our governments are working hard to ensure this does not happen. And in doing so we are striving to realize our shared vision of roads and highways filled with electric vehicles. Chancellor Merkel and her Cabinet are developing a plan that envisions one million electric cars zipping along Germany’s famed autobahns by 2020. The U.S. hopes to have the same number on American roads by 2015.
These are ambitious goals, but with the right degree of collaboration, and a commitment to creating a global regulatory environment that will support the technological innovation that is behind this emerging sector, they are attainable. Indeed, our governments have already begun to collaborate on these topics, and we are joined by the efforts of the private sector as well.
I began my remarks by observing that we are living through uncertain times. But the innovation and cooperation on display at this fair gives many reasons for hope. You are working together and so your governments must. You are pioneering new technologies that will create the jobs of the future and lead to sustained economic growth for the U.S., Europe and the broader global economy. Our governments must ensure our actions foster and support the innovative industries you are leading, not stifle them. It’s a tall order, but one we must achieve, and with your help, I am confident we will. Thank you. Danke schoen.
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