2009. The figures of foreign direct investment are equally impressive. 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. “We see that the transatlantic relationship has come a long way since the Marshall Plan,” he said.14
In addition to the strong bilateral trade and investment relationship between the United States and Germany, Dr. Hoyer said, the two countries have also cooperated in overcoming the global financial crisis within the framework of the G-20. He said that “the collaborative effort is paying off,” and that “the worst of the crisis is behind us.” In Germany the GDP grew by 3.6 percent in 2010, the economy’s strongest performance since reunification. He projected that the performance in 2011 would be at least as good. Total employment had also reached its highest level since unification, with a working population of 40.5 million in 2010. In the United States, growth had resumed also, at a rate of almost 3 percent in 2010, while unemployment was still high at 9 percent.
The occasional divergence of views between the two nations on how to handle the crisis, he said—such as the timing of fiscal consolidation—had so far “served less as an irritant than as a catalyst for more meaningful exchange.” The reason was that Germany and the United States agreed on the fundamental goal of promoting sound, market-driven economic policies in democratic and free societies. “We argue that the role of the state in our two societies is to set the framework for economic activity,” he said, “and provide incentives for innovation.”
Ideas for innovations in both countries come from many directions, he said, including the universities, scientific organizations, think tanks, research institutes, and industry. The German government had just launched a new initiative for electromobility, or e-mobility, to provide the framework for research and development with funding of 1 billion Euros through 2013.
THE NEED TO COORDINATE NORMS AND STANDARDS
Another goal of the initiative is to strengthen international cooperation with regard to norms and standards. Cooperation on standards is an issue not only for the bilateral relationship, but also for the EU as a whole and the United States. Through the Transatlantic Economic Council (TAC), founded in 2007 on a German initiative, the United States and EU cooperate on future-oriented economic issues, including e-mobility. Germany has pushed for including e-mobility on the agenda of the council—again, the catalyze development of
14Under the Marshall Plan, which operated from 1948 to 1951, the United States invested $13 billion in European reconstruction. It also reduced trade barriers, encouraged cooperation, and launched other elements of European integration.