On November 30, 2023, AmCham Germany hosted its 17th Transatlantic Business Conference at the Hilton Airport The Squaire in Frankfurt am Main. At the conference, politicians, business leaders among AmCham Germany member companies, and other stakeholders came together to discuss how to further deepen transatlantic business and trade relations by fostering open trade; advocating for more transatlantic sovereignty in focal areas such as international supply chains, standards and norms, as well as critical and emerging technologies to conduct business in a clean and sustainable, innovative manner.
Setting the Scene - State of Affairs
In her welcoming remarks, Simone Menne, President, AmCham Germany, outlined the importance of AmCham Germany’s Transatlantic Business Conference, namely to provide a platform where businesses from diverse sectors and stakeholders from different backgrounds can come together and share insights, provide new perspectives, and ultimately be innovation carriers.
In his opening keynote, Uwe Becker, State Secretary for European Affairs, Hesse, compared the economic standpoint of the U.S. and Germany. He underlined the necessity especially for Europe to adapt for the challenges ahead and consider other players around the world to create synergies. In the case of Germany, its role is essential to bringing Europe together.
In the ensuing exchange between State Secretary Uwe Becker, Michael Kotzbauer (Member of the Board of Managing Directors, Commerzbank AG, and AmCham Germany Board Member) and Simone Menne focused on the evolving role in the changing transatlantic landscape. They considered strategies for involving local companies in regions like Hesse, emphasizing the interconnectedness beyond economic dimensions. The panel also discussed the meaning of Zeitenwende and AmCham Germany’s role in supporting federal initiatives. Internationally, attention turned to the transatlantic trade agenda's shared basis, evaluating its stability amid diverging EU and U.S. positions, and anticipation and concerns regarding the upcoming Trade and Technology Council (TTC) meeting in December 2023.
TOP50/TOP30 Rankings Presentation
For the first time ever on the occasion of the Transatlantic Business Conference, the latest results of the annual TOP50/30 survey were presented, a ranking of the TOP 50 U.S. companies in Germany and the TOP 30 largest U.S. employers in Germany, a survey conducted in partnership with our patron member, Accenture. The survey focuses on the challenges U.S. companies face at the German location and on the opportunities U.S. companies see in transatlantic cooperation.
Key takeaways of the presentation were the following: Overall, Germany remains a key investment location for U.S. companies. Nevertheless, action is required on multiple fronts. Challenges vary from company to company. Main investments barriers include energy security and high cost challenges, as well as complicated and lengthy bureaucratic processes. The companies surveyed have great confidence in transatlantic relations. The economic relations between Germany and the U.S. are close and stable and show a high resilience. These close ties are the basis for tackling future challenges through international cooperation. Companies need to be bolder in their use of innovative technologies unlocking new opportunities.
Speakers of the TOP 50/TOP 30 Panel included:
- Christina Raab, Market Unit Lead ASG, Accenture Germany
- Christin Schack, Vice President & Managing Director Central Europe Region, 3M Deutschland GmbH
- Gabriele Hässig, Managing Director Communications & Sustainability, Procter & Gamble Germany GmbH
U.S. Ambassador Amy Gutmann joined the conference and delivered a keynote, followed by a bilateral exchange with Simone Menne. In her keynote, Ambassador Gutmann underlined the vitality of a strong transatlantic partnership, amidst the changing power structures. She stressed the historical duty of fighting for democratic values and providing an environment for society to thrive, this includes working towards providing frameworks for innovation and disruptive ideas.
We were thrilled to have our Female Leaders Platform Luncheon during the conference, bringing our Award Patron of our Female Founders Award and supporter Dr. Marianne Janik, CEO of Microsoft Germany, Susan Danger, CEO of AmCham EU, and Stephen Anderson, Minister Counselor for Economic Affairs from the U.S. Department of State to discuss in a round with business leaders from our diverse membership and winners of the female founders award, Xenia Scholl, Maria Möller, Irene Selvanathan, together with business angel Martina Pfeifer (encourageventures) on how to advance an environment that benefits women’s ventures and investments and fosters a more equal society across the Atlantic - a larger goal of the EmpowerHerInitiative which AmCham Germany proudly supports.
Breakout sessions from our members for our members
During the conference, five breakout sessions took place:
3M and Procter & Gamble on Innovation & Sustainability – The Power of Partnerships: From Idea to Implementation in a Transatlantic Context. This breakout session showcased how people and businesses can pool their skills and resources to develop and implement new ideas together – for driving transformation in times of transformation. This includes the collaboration between companies and institutions as well as the collaboration between individuals. Successful implementation of innovations, especially in sustainability, requires an open and collaborative culture.
Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP onGlobal Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) Developments and Trends, as well as Their Impact on Transatlantic Businesses. This session focused on current regulatory discussions that companies need to know regarding ESG in order to navigate the ever-evolving legislative and regulatory landscape.
Frankfurt Rhein Main GmbH & Hessen Trade and Invest onTouching Down in Frankfurt Rhein Main: Unpacking the Impact of NFL Games on the Region. This breakout session comprehensively explored the multifaceted impact of NFL games on the Frankfurt Rhein Main region, from economic and cultural influences to community engagement.
KPMG on What U.S.-owned Companies Need to Know About the Upcoming EU Sustainability Reporting Requirements. Members of KPMG’s U.S. Country Practice Team who have been advising management of U.S. companies at both the U.S. headquarter and European subsidiary levels provided insights to the ESG Reporting challenges, explaining not only what these regulations require, but also some of the unique challenges they present (as well as potential strategies to address them) to U.S. multinational companies operating in the European Union.
AmCham Germany NextGen Steering Committee onNew Talent & New Work – From the Great Attrition to the Great Renegotiation, to the Great Regret: Can New Work help Attract and Retain Talent in a Sustainable Manner? The NextGen Steering Committee explored current challenges regarding the new generation of the workforce and its implications for businesses centering on the question posed by companies of all shapes, sizes, and sectors: How to keep good talent from walking out the door? In this session, they explored this topic across industrial, consulting, and start-up spaces as well as the key differences between the U.S. and the German job markets.
Trade in Times of Geopolitical Upheaval
Towards the last component of the conference, Dr. Tobias Meyer, CEO, DHL Group, delivered a keynote speech, ensued by an exchange with Daniel Andrich, General Manager, AmCham Germany. As CEO of one of world leading companies in the logistics sector, he stressed the importance of working together and how complex the connections of businesses, policies, and countries are intertwined today. He called for an urgent alignment between the EU and the U.S. in this ever-changing world. He concluded with the motion to not take this transatlantic partnership for granted but rather to constantly push our common values and interests.
To conclude the program, a transatlantic panel took place, kicked-off by an impulse from Wolfgang Niedermark, Member of the Executive Board, Federation of German Industries.In his impulse, he provided his perspective on the importance of trade organizations working towards creating a business friendly environment and considered Germany’s value as an investment location and the country’s leadership role in the EU. He echoed many sentiments considering Germany’s challenges in future-oriented topics, prioritizing the reduction of bureaucracy and highlighted the great potential and compatibility to act jointly with the U.S. in these aspects.
The following people comprised the panel:
- Daniel Caspary, Member of the European Parliament, Chairman of the German CDU/CSU-Delegation in the European Parliament and Member of the Committee on International Trade
- Susan Danger, CEO, AmCham EU
- Wolfgang Niedermark, Member of the Executive Board, Federation of German Industries (BDI)
- Carl Valenstein, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
We wish to thank Tobias Endler as moderator of the 17th Transatlantic Business Conference. A warm thank you to our event supporters and partners, without whom our conference would not have been possible: Commerzbank for being Co-Organizer of the conference, the Transatlantic Business Initiative (TBI) as Cooperation Partner, our range of platinum sponsors: 3M, Deloitte, Frankfurt RheinMain, Hessen Trade & Invest, KMPG Germany, Morgan Lewis, and Procter & Gamble. Our gold sponsors Delta Airlines, Johnson & Johnson, and Pfizer and silver sponsors Advant Beiten, BNY Mellon, Coca Cola Germany, Lilly Germany, and SAP.