MdP SERIAL – THE EXTERIOR PERSPECTIVE ON US: George Friedman at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs

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Michael’s opinion: THE EXTERIOR PERSPECTIVE ON US is a MdP Serial in which international speakers or organizations are expressing their views about Germany and its role in Europe and the world.  

The first episode is a surprisingly explicit and open speech of George Friedman at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs. Let me point out that I’m a natural-born trans-Atlantic minded person. But I assume it’s good to know how our American friends are internally discussing their role and their strategy in the world. 

The Chicago  Council on Global Affairs is a highly renowned organization that over the decades was the host for a legion of global statesmen.  Click this link to get to their homepage.

The speaker George Friedman was the founder and CEO of Stratfor. Stratfor is a private consultancy on geopolitics and strategic forecasting. Meanwhile, his new entrepreneurial home is Geopolitical Futures (www.stratfor.com and www.geopoliticalfutures.com). 

Analyse: AmCham Business Barometer 2017

download-1 (1)AmCham Germany’s Business Barometer is a survey among US subsidiaries regarding Germany as an investment location. Respondents are asked to rate business prospects as well as the overall investment conditions in Germany. This year’s study focused additionally on the German parliamentary elections in fall 2017 and the new US administration. The study was first conducted in 2003. The XIV. Business Barometer was published by AmCham Germany along with the consulting firm Roland Berger in April 2017.

 

Executive Summary: 

THE CURRENT INVESTOR OUTLOOK
REMAINS POSITIVE

The results of this year’s survey leave little
room for ambiguity: 2016 was a successful
year for US companies in Germany.
Compared to 2015, 70 percent generated
more sales revenue, nearly half increased
their investments and one-third employed
more workers. The majority of remaining
US companies maintained current levels of
investment, employees and sales revenue.
Looking at the 2017 fiscal year,
85 percent of respondents anticipate
increased sales revenue – a ten-year high.
Moreover, 49 percent plan on increasing
their investments in Germany, and 30
percent expect to hire more workers.

US SUBSIDIARIES PLAN ON EXPANDING
THEIR ACTIVITIES – BUT GERMANY’S
ATTRACTIVENESS IS NOT A GIVEN

Over the next three to four years, a
staggering 97 percent of respondents plan
on either expanding or maintaining their
current activities in Germany. However,
while three-quarters of US companies
currently rate Germany’s investment
environment as good or very good,
AmCham Germany Business Barometer 2017
67 percent believe investment conditions
will stay the same in the next three to four
years, and nearly one-fourth of respondents
believe that these will even deteriorate.

KEY STRENGTHS ARE HIGHLY QUALIFIED
WORKERS, SUPPLIER NETWORKS
AND RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

US subsidiaries in Germany are unanimous:
The quality of Germany’s workforce
is the most attractive investment asset and
is rated by every respondent as good or
very good. Moreover, more than 90 percent
of surveyed companies hold Germany’s
supplier networks and research and
development capabilities in high regard.
On the other hand, nearly two-thirds of
US investors view energy costs unfavorably,
and one-third feel that corporate
taxation rates and labor costs are poor or
less than ideal.

FOCUS TOPIC 1: GERMAN PARLIAMENTARY
ELECTIONS – QUICK AND COMPREHENSIVE
REFORMS ARE NEEDED

More than nine out of ten US subsidiaries
feel that the need for economic reforms in
Germany is high or very high, and
82 percent believe that these will be
difficult to implement. From the
perspective of US companies, the next
German government should increase
advocacy for free trade and open markets
(94 percent), create the proper framework
for a modern digital economy (94 percent)
and strengthen research and innovation
capabilities in Germany (91 percent).

FOCUS TOPIC 2: THE NEW US ADMINISTRATION
– A GREAT DEAL OF UNCERTAINTY REMAINS

While nearly half of respondents are not
yet able to discern the impact of the new
US administration’s policies on their activities
in Germany, there is somewhat
more clarity regarding the anticipated
development of German-American relations.
Nearly 60 percent of US companies
believe that economic ties between the
two countries will remain stable; however,
only 47 percent feel the same about political
ties between Germany and the US.

Nach stehend  der Link zu dem Download der AmCham Germany
Business Barometer 2017
https://www.amcham.de/fileadmin/user_upload/Publications/Business-Barometer/2017/AmCham_Germany_Business_Barometer_2017.pdf

 

Interactive: Mapping the Flow of International Trade

Michael’s opinion: A must see interactive infographic on the flow of international trade. Look how strong Germany’s role is. 

china-tentacles

click here to get to the interactive map

The Flow of International Trade

With the election of Donald Trump, international trade is suddenly at the top of the U.S. agenda. And it occurred to me, I actually have very little idea what the big picture of foreign trade looks like. And there are surprisingly few resources on the web. So, I gathered up the data via the U.N. Comtrade API and put it together in this map.

What does this map tell us?

  • I can only speak for myself, but what jumps out most to me is how concentrated the flows are in just three countries: the U.S., China, and Germany. Nearly half of all goods traded around the world go through one of these three countries, either exported to or imported from.
  • Germany has the largest economy in the EU, but not by much. The GDP’s of the UK and France are both about 25% smaller than Germany. But it’s clear by looking at the map that Germany dominates EU trade. Its total exports are nearly on a par with the US, $1.3 trillion vs $1.5 trillion. Of the 28 EU member states, Germany is the #1 exporter to 17.
  • What strikes me about the United States is how balanced its trade is with Canada and Mexico. To hear some of the recent rhetoric about Mexico, you would think the trade is completely one-sided — goods flowing in, money flowing out. In reality, America’s imports and exports with Mexico are roughly equal ($240 billion and $294 billion). The same is true of Canada ($312 billion and $347 billion).
  • With total imports of $1.9 trillion and total exports of $2.1 trillion, China holds the largest share of foreign trade. I don’t know whether China’s trade policies are good or bad for the rest of the world. But visually, it sure does look like an octopus with its tentacles wrapped around the Earth.

by: Max Galka on Metrocosm