Following his visit to Paris, France earlier this week, U.S. Commerce Secretary John Bryson visited Dusseldorf, Germany on Wednesday, before taking off for Berlin. Secretary Bryson is in Europe this week to meet with government and business leaders, reaffirm the United States’ commitment to lowering trade barriers, and encourage European businesses to invest in the U.S.
In the morning, Secretary Bryson led a roundtable discussion with key members of the U.S. and German business community, including representatives from UPS, FedEx, and the American Chamber of Commerce, among others, as well as the Economics Minister of North Rhine Westphalia. The group discussed successes and challenges in trade and investment, as well as opportunities for continued cooperation and public-private partnerships, such as the Commerce Department partnerships with FedEx and UPS, to promote exports and build greater awareness of Commerce programs and initiatives to help small businesses. Secretary Bryson took the opportunity to encourage further German investment in the United States, highlighting the attractiveness of the investment climate and resources for potential investors, including SelectUSA, the first coordinated effort by the U.S. government to attract new business investments to America.
Secretary Bryson also met with the Transatlantic Business Dialogue Co-Chair, Mr. Jurgen Thumann. They discussed the progress being made between the US and EU governments to strengthen our economic relationship through the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth, established at the November 2011 U.S.-EU Summit meeting by the Presidents of the United States and the EU. Secretary Bryson and Mr. Thumann also discussed the Transatlantic Economic Council and ways to improve the transatlantic business climate by reducing unnecessary barriers to trade and investment.
Later in the day, Secretary Bryson traveled to Berlin where he toured the Siemens’ training facility in Siemensstadt. The facility combines vocational training with classroom instruction, preparing workers for the jobs of the future–jobs that will increasingly depend on science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. Siemens employs more than 55,000 workers in the United States, and partners with U.S. community colleges to offer training programs. The company recently launched a Siemens Certified Mechatronic Systems Assistant certification program at Virginia Western Community College, for example, giving U.S. students the opportunity to develop important skills for good-paying manufacturing jobs.
Siemens is one of the largest wind manufacturers in the U.S. and a leader in off-shore wind turbine production. This week, in order to encourage clean energy manufacturing and the American jobs it supports, President Obama is highlighting the latest item on his "To-Do" list, urging Congress to pass legislation to extend the production tax credit, and expand the 48C advanced energy manufacturing tax credit.
Secretary Bryson will spend Thursday and Friday in Berlin, where he will meet with business and government leaders to discuss opportunities to strengthen the commercial relationship between the United States and Europe, including efforts to support President Obama’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goal of doubling U.S. exports by the end of 2014. On Friday, Secretary Bryson will deliver the keynote address at the Global Business Dialogue, a conference co-hosted by the U.S. Commercial Service, Thunderbird School of Management and the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany. The conference will focus on addressing major business challenges and opportunities on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as the importance of continued cooperation between the U.S. and Germany.