|*As prepared for delivery.
Hannover Messe Preview
Hannover, January 27, 2016
Ambassador John B. Emerson
Thank you, Dr. Koeckler,
The United States is honored to be the Partnerland for the 2016 Hannover Messe, and I know that Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker and her boss, President Obama, are excited to be coming here in late April. And we in Mission Germany are fully engaged in making certain that our partnership is an unparalleled success.
Over the course of its 70 year history, the Hannover Messe has highlighted advances in industry and acted as a driving force for technical progress. Over the years, the Fair has been a brilliant host for some of the most innovative American companies. Now, for the first time since the Fair was established, the United States will be the Partner Country. This will offer the U.S. delegation maximum exposure and numerous face-to-face opportunities to connect to the global industrial technology marketplace and discover new business prospects.
The 2016 Hannover Messe is an unprecedented opportunity. Secretary Pritzker and her Department of Commerce are on course to bring more than 250 companies to the show in April. The size and scope of the U.S. delegation means attendees and exhibitors from foreign markets can connect with a diverse group representing the American industrial technology sector. There will be at least one U.S. Pavilion in each of the six distinct industry areas at the Hannover Messe. In addition to bringing business delegations from around the world to the Messe, trade and investment specialists from our Foreign Commercial Service will be on hand in each of the U.S. pavilions to bring businesses together.
Importantly, our National U.S. Investment Pavilion, near the north entrance in Hall 3, will provide a platform for economic cooperation with states and communities from across the United States. A representative from the state of Wisconsin is with us today to give you a sneak preview of the advantage that selecting the USA brings to global investors. In April, the Economic Development Offices from Wisconsin and as many as 100 localities from across America will be on hand to talk with the more than 5,000 industry exhibitors and 200,000 trade visitors from around the world that are expected to visit the Hannover Messe.
As you may know, last year the United States became Germany’s largest customer; and Germany is America’s largest trading partner in Europe. In other words, Germany and the United States have a huge stake in the health and vitality of each other’s economies. President Obama’s presence illustrates how important this show will be for both the U.S. and German business communities.
If you map the progress of the Hannover Messe, which was founded just two months after the Marshall Plan was announced in 1947, it is obvious that we’ve come a long way together; but there is still much more to do. Now is the time for us to double and triple our efforts to cultivate long term economic growth into the 21st century.
The 2016 Hannover Messe will underline the importance of the German-American and the broader transatlantic economic relationships in a rapidly globalizing world. From the U.S. point of view, it offers a unique opportunity not only to showcase American innovation and ingenuity, but to strengthen the transatlantic partnership at a critical juncture.
Dr. Koeckler, as you said, the theme of this year’s Hannover Messe builds on the work of Germany’s Industrie 4.0 platform that was launched at the Messe in last year. It also mirrors the official theme of the World Economic Forum annual meeting last week: “Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”
Without a doubt, the global digitalization of manufacturing – advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology and other areas of technology and science, all of which will be on display here in Hannover – is transforming our societies and our economies. Innovations at the intersection of these disciplines will affect every industry, and every societal group, and the daily lives of individuals and their families – in new and unforeseen ways – for years to come. Learning how we can benefit from this revolution, while acknowledging and addressing the challenges it poses, is of crucial importance – not only for our businesses and workers at home, but for people around the world.
Historically, technological advances have created new jobs and the need for new and different roles, even as it renders others obsolete or redundant. As in the past, some jobs will evolve, some will be eliminated, and others will be created – including jobs in entirely new industries that we cannot even imagine today. When I graduated from law school, there were no cellphones, video players, DVDs or CDs, let alone smartphones or the Internet. Microwave ovens were expensive and rare. And color televisions were big, deep, and heavy. Now they can be held in your hand. OK, so you may think I’m old. But just two decades ago, occupations such as app developer, social media manager, search engine optimization specialist, and big data analyst did not exist. Last week, my wife Kimberly and I attended the DLD, or Digital Life Design conference in Munich. There, the theme, as one might expect, was the Next Next.
In the United States, we are digitizing so rapidly that most users are scrambling to adapt. The race to keep up with technology and put it to the most effective business use is producing digital “haves” and “have-mores.” The gap between them is becoming a decisive factor in competition. And here, in terms of both the challenges and the opportunities of innovation, American and German companies have a special role to play, and great prospects to seize.
Think about it. In the United States, we like to say that innovation isn’t just in our interest; it’s in our DNA. Through open platforms and systems that invite innovators and encourage risk-takers, we cultivate startups that become legends. But let’s not forget how many German companies, both large and Mittelstand, began as startups. Innovation is also in Germany’s DNA. We both have a tradition of tackling new challenges, adapting to new circumstances, and seizing new opportunities.
Certainly, Herr Soder, that is the case with SEW-Eurodrive. I know we are going to hear about some of the exciting new developments from your firm that will be featured at the Hannover Messe in April. And the American companies that we will be showcasing in April share that same drive – so to speak.
The history of the U.S. space program captures an essential part of innovation – reaching for new heights, stretching beyond, with speed and precision, what previously did not seem possible. President Kennedy called on the American people to realize the dream of reaching the moon by the end of the 1960s. With Neil Armstrong’s first steps on the surface of the moon 47 years ago, the term “moonshot” became a synonym for aiming for a lofty target, not just in space, but in any endeavor. And by the way, the computing power in a smartphone that we all carry in our pockets and purses vastly exceed that of the computers used to accomplish that “small step for a man.”
Well, back in the 1960s, one of the essential materials in the race to conquer space was a specialty graphite, designed to withstand high temperatures during reentry, developed by a Texas based aerospace company named POCO. POCO/Entegris is now the leading manufacturer of graphite and silicon carbide materials and products for use in aerospace applications. These materials find use in extreme environments, and in systems that require both unparalleled precision and high performance. POCO/Entegris will be part of the U.S. delegation to Hannover in the spring – and they are here today.
Space research spinoffs have contributed to immeasurable technological advances that have improved our health and well-being, from aerospace manufacturing to medical imaging, from satellite navigation to water purification. The challenges facing our space program today are very different than 50 years ago. We are no longer racing against an adversary, or competing to achieve a singular goal like reaching the moon. In the United States, what was once seen as global competition has long since become a platform for global collaboration. But what we do – or fail to do – in seeking new frontiers is no less consequential for our future both in space and here on Earth.
It has been said that, in the 21st century, those who earn the most economic power will be those who are smart enough to share it with key partners. This is central to what Secretary of State John Kerry calls the shared prosperity agenda, frequently stating that, “Economic policy is foreign policy, and foreign policy is economic policy.” Foreign policy initiatives have always worked best when they included economic partnerships. Well, in the 21st century, the world has become even flatter, more connected, and more interdependent. And we dare not forget, in the face of the urgent headlines of today, the importance of economic cooperation in this globally interconnected world.
This is why the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement is so important. T-TIP represents ideas that were put in practice in the early years after the end of World War II when leaders in the United States and Europe formed a partnership that was based on the premise that if Europe prospers, America does so as well, and vice versa. That logic of a mutually beneficial partnership continues to make eminent sense.
On both sides of the Atlantic, it is important that we strengthen our economies by ensuring long-term stability into the future. T-TIP will provide the economic and strategic framework that can serve as that foundation for shared prosperity. It is the next logical step in a strong relationship between equal partners.
At this point in time, the EU and the U.S. account for almost half of the world’s economic output and 40 percent of global trade. Ours is also the world’s largest investment relationship. SEW-Eurodrive, with multiple facilities in the U.S., is but one example of that investment and the mutually beneficial relationship that is responsible for a significant percentage of research and development – cutting-edge research that will power the future global economy and the creation of jobs and industries that we cannot even imagine today. Shorter product life-cycles, demands for “just-in-time” delivery, increased product differentiation, and more competitive global competition have required firms to innovate more quickly, effectively, and efficiently.
However, for thousands of globally-minded companies at the Hannover Messe, unnecessary barriers to trade and investment – tariffs, red tape, delays, and uncertainty over product requirements – stand between entrepreneurs and potential customers. Removing these barriers makes sense. It will pave the way to innovate and meet the needs of customers, communities, and consumers. Governments owe it to their entrepreneurs, who are ahead of the curve with cutting-edge ideas, to implement systems that encourage interoperability through transparent, market-driven, science-based, standard-setting processes. The expected benefits of TTIP’s standard harmonization are lower engineering, development, and manufacturing costs; increased manufacturer/supplier confidence; and reduced time from factory to market. This is the kind of strategy we need – one that helps the private sector, and in particular small and medium-sized businesses – thrive in the industries and markets of today, and of the future. T-TIP will not only create jobs in the near term, it will also create an environment for sustained economic growth and opportunity in the long term.
We know from the past that trade negotiations are politically difficult. No agreement is perfect. And it’s easy to be negative. But at the end of the day, the decision we have to make is whether we’re better off with T-TIP or with the alternative future without T-TIP that we are otherwise likely to face. Economically and strategically the choice is clear. By lowering barriers to trade and investment, T-TIP will reinforce the values that advance the kind of rules-based public commons in which all economies thrive. Clearly, T-TIP is a strong and viable example of how government can work with business to support business.
And so let me end where I began – to underscore the importance of Partnerland 2016 to the United States and our hundreds of companies and economic development agencies that will be on the trade show floor in Hannover this April. We could not be more excited to offer businesses and industries from Germany, Europe, and around the world the opportunity to visit our exhibitors, to do deals, and to select the USA as a partner for their future trade and investment endeavors.
And, to be clear, the partnership between the United States and Germany is exactly what this is all about. The importance we place on that essential partnership is precisely why we are here in Hannover. It is why we accepted Germany’s gracious invitation to be the 2016 Partnerland; and it is why the President of the United States will be coming to Hannover this April.
Right here, just 88 short days from now, Germany and the United States of America will show the world exactly why our doing business together makes total business sense. And, in so doing, we will demonstrate not only with our words, but through the buzz of business activity our companies create together at the Hannover Messe, why the growth of our transatlantic partnership is so vitally important to our collective future.
* Note: The final (“as delivered”) version of Ambassador Emerson’s speech will be posted at https://de.usembassy.gov/our-relationship/our-ambassador/speeches/.