AmCham Germany Annual Membership Meeting 2023
As prepared for delivery
AmCham Germany Annual Membership Meeting
Ambassador Amy Gutmann
July 6, 2023
Ladies and Gentlemen, Simone Menne,
It is an honor to participate in the 119th Annual Membership Meeting of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany. 119 years. Congratulations not only on your longevity but also on what it says about the central role of commercial trade and investment in our German-American partnership.
Last week, we celebrated the 60th anniversary of President John F. Kennedy’s iconic “Ich bin ein Berliner” visit to Berlin. Those four famous words echoed across national borders and through the ages, vividly illustrating his plea to everyone, to do “what together we can do for the freedom of man.” Kennedy stressed the idea of our interdependent liberty, and the potential of a strong, united Europe. “History has made us friends,” he said, “Economics has made us partners, and necessity has made us allies.”
When we partner in economics and ally as nations, our potential to advance liberty and prosperity is unrivalled. This was the dynamic spirit that led the post-World War Two generation of Americans, Germans, and other Europeans to help their own nations and the world achieve new levels of peace and prosperity.
Economic integration and strong alliances among free nations have proved unsurpassed in delivering freedom, opportunity and prosperity to people. But unsurpassed does not mean unchallenged. The challenges are both external and internal. Autocrats have created and exploited major weaknesses in the foundations of the international economic and political order.
Democratic countries also have yet to fulfill our responsibilities in areas as far ranging as public health, education, and economic well-being. In the last decade alone, the global pandemic exposed the fragility of our supply chains. A changing climate threatens lives and livelihoods. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine underscores the risks of overdependence on autocracies.
This moment demands that we forge a new consensus, a new industrial and innovation strategy for the 21st century. A strategy that invests in the sources of our own economic and technological strength; a strategy that promotes diversified and resilient global supply chains; a strategy that sets high standards for the well-being of those most at risk; a strategy that deploys capital to deliver on climate, health, education, and employment.
You may have heard that the United States now has an official name for this strategy – “Biden-omics.” The White House did not come up with this name but President Biden has embraced it. You may recall that President Obama did not invent the term “Obamacare”—but he too adopted it.
To be very clear about Bidenonmics: it’s definitively not about America alone. Quite the contrary, it is a strategy that works both in the United States and with partners around the world. It will build a fairer, more durable global economic order, for the benefit of people everywhere.
President Biden’s economic priority is clear: to ensure that the United States and our partners build the talent, technologies, and manufacturing capabilities necessary to lead the global economy in the 21st century. Creating a secure and sustainable economy in the face of new economic and geopolitical realities will require us all to do more—and quickly. There’s no time to lose. Everything we don’t do is as important as everything we do.
The United States and Germany represent two of the strongest economies in the world. The winning formula: Connect German and American creativity and quality, enterprise, and efficiency. The scope of our bilateral trade and investment reflects our shared values and culture, transcending a mere numeric value. But here are some of the stats.
Last year, the United States exported close to $75 billion worth of goods to Germany. These goods ranged from aircraft and vehicles to agricultural products, medical instruments, and much more. In return, the United States imported some $150 billion from Germany, strengthening our domestic industries with high-quality machinery, pharmaceuticals, and other key products.
U.S. investors continue to rate Germany high on public safety, political stability, standard of living, and labor productivity. Many U.S. companies still consider their economic situation in Germany as good, with many CFOs expecting continued improvement. The U.S. topped the list of Germany’s new international investors.
Without a doubt, one of the most significant American investments in Germany in recent years is by Intel. The company is set to spend more than 30 billion euros to build a chip manufacturing site in Magdeburg. This investment represents the largest investment ever made by a foreign company in Germany. The German government pledged to cover a third of the investment required, or some 10 billion euros, noting that this is an investment in the future.
In 2021, Apple announced Munich as home to its European Silicon Design Center. Apple will add hundreds of new employees and a new state-of-the-art facility focused on connectivity and wireless technologies. In 2023, Apple announced an additional 1 billion euros over the next six years as part of the Silicon Design Center’s expansion in central Munich. This too is clearly an investment in the future.
Speaking of investments in the future, among the most significant growth opportunities is building a clean-energy economy. The world needs deliberate, hands-on investment strategies designed to stimulate innovation, drive down costs, and create good jobs.
President Biden and European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen discussed the importance of advancing this initiative in Washington in March. Their joint statement emphasized that bold public investments were at the heart of the energy transition.
The climate crisis is a global issue, not just a national or a bilateral issue. But we cannot wait for a single global solution to jump start the road to a reducing emission. Reducing emission in time is about both math and values. All major economies, which represent almost 80% of emissions, need to reach net zero emissions by 2050.
The Inflation Reduction Act, or IRA, puts the United States on track to meet its emission reduction target. Before the IRA, the USA was behind. Now the IRA advances our climate ambitions while addressing the supply chain and security vulnerabilities we face from sourcing from the PRC, Russia, and others. It does not discriminate or put other countries at a disadvantage. It is not zero-sum.
The IRA is in essence a climate bill, designed to fight climate change with clear incentives for renewable energy. It makes an historic investment in climate and clean energy solutions, delivered through a combination of innovative tax incentives, grant programs, and loan guarantees. It offers businesses and consumers various subsidies to adopt clean energy technologies. The IRA represents the largest investment in climate and clean energy solutions in U.S. history. It also will lower energy costs worldwide.
While the IRA is at the very heart of America’s new industrial and innovation strategy, it also goes hand in hand with related G7 and transatlantic initiatives.
We are working closely with Germany, with the EU, and with other partners towards a transatlantic clean energy supply chain “ecosystem.” Our shared goal is a stronger, cleaner industrial base promoting middle class jobs on both sides of the Atlantic and lowering energy costs worldwide.
The United States and the European Commission have taken steps to coordinate the IRA and EU Green Industrial Deal Plan so that they are mutually reinforcing.
The EU-U.S. Task Force on the IRA aims to create more resilient supply chains, more efficient manufacturing, and greater innovation on both sides of the Atlantic. One effect will be to diversify supply chains and markets so none of us is overly dependent on countries that do not play fairly in the market, including China. I cannot overemphasize the fact that the United States is not seeking to de-couple from China.
The United States seeks a constructive and fair economic relationship with China. As Secretary Blinken reinforced last week, after his return from talks with Chinese President Xi. “China has both the power and the intent to change the system that we’re living in.” And he continued, “We have to find a way to coexist and coexist peacefully.”
Peaceful coexistence is the necessary foundation—it is not the most desired goal—of a new phase in this relationship. We all have an obligation to manage the relationship responsibly. We are in a competition on multiple dimensions, a competition to shape a new era of freedom and prosperity for our own countries and worldwide. We are certainly not seeking, let alone provoking confrontation or conflict.
We seek to work together with China wherever we can. We seek to uphold and to revitalize our shared core values and structures—such as respect for national sovereignty, human rights, and fair terms of trade—that have enabled peace and prosperity for decades. Indeed, our respect for human rights, national sovereignty, and fair terms of trade have enabled China’s remarkable rise. Healthy economic competition – where both sides benefit – is only sustainable if competition is fair. A growing China that plays by international rules is good for the world.
If we have learned anything from our experiences with Russia, we have learned that we must not allow countries to wield their market position in key raw materials, technologies, or products as a weapon to disrupt our economy or to exercise geopolitical economic blackmail. We need to increase our economic resilience in key sectors by focusing on diversification and transparency. And we need more options for financing infrastructure and innovation.
To do this, we must strengthen the institutions that maintain our peace and security, that protect the rights of individuals and the integrity of sovereign nations, and that make it possible for all countries – including the United States, Germany, and China – to coexist and cooperate.
That is why we are prioritizing cooperation with trusted allies like Germany to build resilience, promote innovation, and ensure a fair, inclusive, and sustainable global economy based on shared values. We are finding new ways to partner with countries and institutions to get achievable results in response to the global challenges that are having a real effect on the lives of people. That means putting in place the new building blocks, the new variable geometry of a world in which we can advance and shape the post-Cold War era.
The business community plays an incredibly important role in this endeavor. Our bilateral trade and investment relationship is an emblem of democracy, liberty, and fairness. I applaud you for the work you’ve done in strengthening our bilateral economic ties and encourage you to continue a dialogue on the critical issues that affect us and the next generation.
As we navigate the complexities of the 21st century, I am convinced that the United States and Germany will continue to work together to create a world that reflects our shared values and aspirations. Our relationship will stand as a model, demonstrating that when nations work together in harmony, the results are not only beneficial but transformative, once again echoing President Kennedy’s call for “what together we can do for the freedom of man.”
@USAmbGermany Dr. Amy Gutmann on how the transatlantic business community can fortify U.S.-German ties and jointly prepare for the world of tomorrow! Thank you for joining us as a keynote speaker during our #AMM2023 @usbotschaft pic.twitter.com/QbWJouvbkW
— AmCham Germany (@AmChamGermany) July 13, 2023