Ian Steff, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Manufacturing, Performing the non-exclusive functions and duties of the Assistant Secretary of Global Markets and Director General of the United States and Foreign Commercial Service, recently led the U.S. delegation to Berlin, Germany for the U.S.-Germany Informal Commercial Exchange (ICE). The talks were held with senior German officials to discuss ways to further strengthen the substantial U.S.-German economic ties and expand cooperation on the investment environment. The delegation was hosted by Dr. Eckhard Franz, Director General in the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy.
“The United States and Germany enjoy a strong bilateral economic relationship and cooperate well in areas that affect the investment climate, regulatory environment, and workforce development,” said Steff. “American companies look forward to doing more business there and are optimistic that further communication on key issues will strengthen our ties.”
The ICE Talks covered several areas of collaboration and sharing of best practices in emerging technologies and workforce development. The discussion supported U.S. and German companies and highlighted the need for both countries to train and employ highly-skilled labor to support our economies.
In 2018, Germany was our fifth largest trading partner ($183.6 billion); sixth largest merchandise export market ($57.7 billion); and, fifth largest source of merchandise imports ($125.9 billion). The United States also exported approximately $32.7 billion in services to Germany in 2017. Steff underscored the importance of reducing the trade deficit with Germany through increased U.S. exports in a wide range of sectors, as well as a reduction of non-tariff barriers facing U.S. companies there and in the larger European Union market.
The ICE Talks and other Berlin meetings, which included U.S. companies, the American Chamber of Commerce Germany, the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce, and the Federation of German Industries, set the stage for a large U.S. presence at the 2020 Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial technology trade fair, and strengthened bilateral relations going forward.
Compliments of the Department of Commerce