Federal Minister Peter Altmaier visiting technology company Zoox in Silicon Valley

Federal Minister Peter Altmaier visiting technology company Zoox in Silicon Valley

© BMWi/Susanne Eriksson

Federal Economic Affairs Minister Peter Altmaier is visiting the U.S. from 8 to 12 July 2019. His trip will take him to San Francisco and Silicon Valley, Washington D.C. and Alabama. The visit highlights the importance of transatlantic relations for the German economy.

Minister Altmaier commented: “Strong transatlantic relations are mutually beneficial. One aim of my visit is to show how important smooth economic relations are for both sides. This is equally true for traditional industries such as car manufacturing and for young digital industries. We are keen to work closely with the U.S. on new and emerging issues such as AI, the platform economy and venture capital, as well as data security, data protection and data availability. This is why I’ve chosen Silicon Valley as the first stop for my visit. Together with the U.S., Germany and the EU can act as standard-setters for digital policies and shape the global rules of the data economy. We need to grasp this opportunity.”

During his first stop, Minister Altmaier will visit the autonomous mobility company Zoox in San Francisco and meet with representatives of other Silicon Valley companies. In Washington D.C., Minister Altmaier will hold talks with U.S. Trade Representative Lighthizer and U.S. Commerce Secretary Ross, amongst others, to discuss current uncertainty surrounding U.S. trade policy and advocate solutions supporting free and fair trade.

The EU and the U.S. are trading partners on an equal footing. As such, both partners will benefit from a cooperative approach. On the one hand, the U.S. continues to be the most important export market for Germany. In 2018, the U.S. accounted for 9% of Germany’s exports. Therefore, a stable transatlantic trade environment is crucial for German businesses. On the other hand, Germany is the fourth-largest foreign investor in the U.S. and subsidiaries of German companies are the fourth-largest foreign employers in the U.S. German direct investment in the U.S. reached $406 billion in 2017. Germany’s dual vocational training system has also been gaining in popularity in the U.S., where the first training schemes based on the German model were launched in 2011. This means that German companies aren’t just boosting U.S. exports, but also contributing significantly to building a skilled local workforce.

The final stop during Minister Altmaier’s U.S. visit is a case in point: the Mercedes-Benz plant in Tuscaloosa shows very clearly how the U.S. benefits from German investment. Mercedes has invested more than $6 billion in the Tuscaloosa plant and employs some 3,800 people there. With a production capacity of 300,000 vehicles per year, it is the second-biggest U.S. auto exporter. Mercedes-Benz currently uses around 200 U.S.-based suppliers for its Tuscaloosa plant.