both sides drew out valuable lessons from each other’s policies and practices. In his opening remarks, Gert Wagner of the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) predicted that the symposium would help identify best practices in stimulating innovation in key industries, as well as in suggesting areas where the two nations might cooperate in the future.
Participants were also aware of the need to adapt to a new global environment where many countries have focused new policy measures and new resources to support innovative firms and promising industries. “We all need to pay attention to what the rest of the world is doing,” commented Alan Wolff, Chair of the National Academies’ study of Comparative National Innovation Policy. “The policies of others shape the environment in which we cooperate and compete.”“In fact,” he added, “there is not a country disinterested in innovation policy. They are all working hard to capture value in the 21st century.”2
SUSTAINING U.S.-GERMAN COOPERATION
Sustaining strong U.S.-German relationships in trade, investment, and science was seen as important to sustaining the innovative strengths of both countries. As German Minister of State Werner Hoyer noted at the symposium, the United States is Germany’s most important trading partner outside the European Union, and Germany is the U.S.’s leading trading partner in Europe. While the 2008 global economic crisis “slowed trade between the two nations, transatlantic trade has been increasing again since 2009. Bilateral trade amounted to $130 billion in 2010, up from $115 billion in 2009.” The figures of foreign direct investment are also robust. In 2009, German companies invested an accumulated $334 billion in the United States, the second-largest amount by an EU country, behind the Netherlands. Germany was the fifth-largest foreign investor in the United States with investments of $116 billion. Citing these developments, Dr. Hoyer observed, “We see that the transatlantic relationship has come a long way since the Marshall Plan.” Today, he said, the United States and the European Union are the world’s most closely linked economic regions, jointly generating 54 percent of the world’s GDP and providing 30 percent of its consumers.
In his keynote remarks at the symposium Philip Murphy, U.S. Ambassador to Germany observed that both countries have a long history of robust, bilateral scientific and technological investment. The United States and Germany have announced similar targets of investing more than three percent of GDP in public and private research and development. These investments in basic and applied research create incentives for private investments in
2For a review of innovation policies of leading nations and the challenges facing the United States, see National Research Council, Rising to the Challenge: U.S. Innovation Policy for the Global Economy, Charles W. Wessner and Alan Wm. Wolff, eds., op. cit.