fPlus har pratat med Peter Dahlen som är vd för American Chamber of Commerce, Amerikanska Handelskammaren i Sverige, om mellanårsvalets betydelse. Och om framtiden för de amerikansk-svenska relationerna. Dahlen menar att bland annat nya handelsavtalet mellan US, Mexiko och Kanada, USMCA, kan påverkas av valets utfall.
Och trots den turbulens som omgärdar den transatlantiska handeln är USA och Europa varandras viktigaste marknader, säger Dahlen som menar att en ökad rörlighet hos amerikanska och svenska talanger är viktigt för det fortsatta utbytet länderna emellan.
What could one expect from the coming weeks, will there be any significant political changes in the US?
– Naturally, a lot depends on the results of tomorrow’s election. If Democrats take control of the House of Representatives, as is widely expected, legislative action could slow down significantly, while Congressional oversight of the Executive Branch picks up.
– Depending on what happens with control of the Senate, where Republicans are expected to maintain the majority, the pace of presidential appointments and the confirmation of judges could slow down if Democrats were to win control.
– Changes in the composition of Congress could also affect approval of the new U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA), which supersedes the North American Free Trade Agreement, or Nafta.
– In addition to the federal elections, there are a number of state elections taking place. The control of state legislatures and governorships will have an impact on redistricting after the 2020 census and, subsequently, the composition of the U.S. House of Representatives.
What importance does the midterm elections have for the American-Sweden business and trade exchange?
– As a non-partisan, non-profit trade association, our work as the voice of American business in Sweden will not change. That said, the composition of the 116th Congress will have an impact on future trade negotiations, including any free trade agreement between the EU and the U.S. Crafting a free trade agreement between the United States and the EU is still very important for our members. The removal of tariffs and non-tariff barriers to trade through regulatory harmonization and the mutual recognition of standards would pave the way to even more business between the worlds largest trading partners.
How has the opportunities for the American business industry changed during the Trump-years. Positive and/or negative examples?
– Despite transatlantic turbulence, the U.S. and Europe remain each other’s most important markets and transatlantic trade gaps have narrowed.
– The opportunities remain significant for companies on both sides of the Atlantic. While there are challenges with respect to tariffs, there is wide agreement that action must be taken to solve the core issue of global overcapacity, as well as address third countries’ unfair trading practices, protect investments and intellectual property, and reform the World Trade Organization.
How does the American business community handle the turmoil that comes with the presidency of Trump?
– Largely by continuing to advocate for free and fair trade. For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, of which we are a member, works closely with the Administration and the Congress on issues related to business and trade. The Chamber’s advocacy includes strong opposition to the tariffs that have been imposed and threatened.
– Look, the transatlantic economy generates $5.5 trillion in total commercial sales per year and employs up to 15 million workers on both sides of the Atlantic. It is the largest and wealthiest market in the world, accounting for one-third of world GDP in terms of purchasing power, and represents half of total global personal consumption.
– With tensions related to transatlantic business top of mind, we continue to urge both sides to take a balanced approach in resolving disagreements while promoting issues to foster continued growth in jobs, investment, and security across the Atlantic.
– In this context, it is vital that business shows how much we already contribute to the U.S. and Swedish economies, and to share the story of trade in a way that addresses the plight of people whose work is disrupted by trade, while advancing free and fair trade agreements that promote growth, peace, and security.
What is the most important for the future growth of exchange between American and Swedish companies? Legislation? Politics?
– The key to promoting the growth of business between the United States and Sweden is the continued work to ensure a climate conducive to investment and innovation in both countries. What is more, it’s important to ensure talent mobility between the United States and Sweden to make sure that our companies have the talent they need innovate and grow.
When do you think that the ongoing TTIP-negotiations might be finalized? What is the most difficult bridge to cross when it comes to the content of the treaty?
– As you know, the proposed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement itself is on hold — and for a host of reasons. Given the original ambition to craft a comprehensive and robust free trade agreement between the United States and the EU, the most difficult challenge remains achieving the needed consensus from numerous countries, industries and civil society organizations.
– We have been encouraged by recent developments, including a renegotiated Nafta, renewed openness to an U.S. - EU free trade agreement, and revisiting the harmonization of U.S. - EU standards and regulations, as well as other non-tariff barriers to trade.