25th RGIT Anniversary: USA still highly attractive investment location for German businesses


Dr. Thomas Zielke, President and CEO, RGIT

A conference with high-level participants from the fields of government and industry, followed by an evening reception in DC’s elegant Decatur House marked the 25th Anniversary celebration of the Representative of German Industry and Trade (RGIT) on May 1st. Leading representatives of RGIT’s principals, the Federation of German Industries (BDI) and the German Association of Chambers of Industry and Commerce (DIHK) joined in on the festivities. DIHK CEO Dr. Martin Wansleben opened the conference by looking back at 25 years of RGIT’s successful representation of German businesses’ interests in the US; afterwards, BDI president Ulrich Grillo opined on the importance of transatlantic relations, especially for German manufacturing firms. State Secretary Anne Ruth Herkes from the Ministry of Economics and Technology stressed the advantages of the potential Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) between the EU and the US for German industry.

Dr. Martin Wansleben, CEO, DIHK

During a panel discussion on investment conditions for German manufacturers, business representatives exchanged their views on the core topics: education and energy. Given the domestic lack of vocational training systems such as those in Germany in the US, VW had to implement their own educational measures to meet global VW production and quality standards, reported Dr. Guenther Scherelis, General Manager Communications at VW Chattanooga. On the other hand, the low energy prices resulting from shale gas development are a huge locational advantage, Caroll Neubauer of B. Braun Medical Inc. and Martin Richenhagen of the agricultural machinery maker AGCO agreed upon. Neubauer claimed that the energy prices as well as the possibilities presented by the high tech sector would bring jobs back to America.

Mr. Ulrich Grillo, Chairman, BDI

After introductory remarks from the US perspective on TTIP by Assistant US Trade Representative for Europe and the Middle East Dan Mullaney, a second panel discussed the future of trade relations between the EU and the US. Moderator Robert Kimmit, Chairman of the American Council on Germany, recognized the foundation of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) under the German EU presidency in 2007 as the starting point for the current initiative. Member of the German Bundestag Peter Beyer (CDU) demanded transparency and a lively exchange of information between the EU and the US during the TTIP negotiations. The German and American business representatives, BDI CEO Dr. Markus Kerber and US Chamber Executive Vice President and Head of International Affairs Myron Brilliant, were convinced that an agreement was achievable. The companies now had to turn to their respective Congressmen and ask for support, Brilliant stated.

You can see more pictures from the anniversary celebration here. 

State Secretary Anne Ruth Herkes, Federal Ministry for Economics and Technology

Mr. Grillo opening the evening program