On Nov. 30, I took the stage at the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue Conference in Washington, DC, to deliver a keynote on the expected outcome of the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth to members of US Congress and the European Parliament.
Since 1972, delegations from the United States and the European Union have come together biannually to discuss issues of mutual concern with the goal of promoting legislative coherence. Speaking on behalf of AmCham ExCo, and as a European representing an American company where nearly half of our revenue comes from Europe, I have a vested interest in the well-being of our transatlantic economy. As such, it was an honor to present my ideas before this distinguished audience.
The US and Europe remain each other’s most important markets. No other commercial artery in the world is as integrated. Our transatlantic economy generates close to $5 trillion a year in commercial sales and employs 15 million workers. However, with economic numbers around Europe getting worse, and democracy being challenged by recession, it’s clear that there is both a very good reason and a groundswell of public support for measures that promote economic growth.
So where is growth likely to come from?
For growth to occur we need investment. But investment requires an innovation environment, and that starts with common rules. Otherwise people won’t invest. It’s that simple. The Working Group on Jobs and Growth is tasked to identify measures that will strengthen our transatlantic economy and then report their findings to EU and US leaders for legislative consideration. My speech aimed to influence legislators to pass laws that maximize the potential uses of technology – while also promoting the responsible treatment of data – on both sides of the Atlantic.
The digital economy will happen with or without the transatlantic economy. If we don’t set the agenda, others will. French research firm IDC estimates the global digital economy will reach $20 trillion in value by next year. Given the magnitude of this number, it’s clear the digital economy is coming of age. What we cannot afford to do is argue about the past at the cost of the future. Going forward we must get it right. I implore the Working Group to heed my advice and recommend measures that promote the common rules needed for our transatlantic economy to flourish.
Read a joint statement on the conference from TLD co-chairs Cliff Stearns and Christian Ehler.