The honor of opening the ninth Munich Cross-Border M&A and Private Equity Investment Conference was given to Meghan Gregonis, General Consul of the United States in Munich. The topic of the opening statement—putting the transatlantic economy on a free and fair footing—aptly complemented the focus of the conference: “10 Years of Growth – What Comes Next?”, as trade tensions these days seem to have an enormous impact on the markets.
Consul General Gregonis’ remarks focused on the state of the trade relationship between the United States and the European Union, a partnership with a rich history of more than 70 years. After World War II, the institution of a free trade system not only lifted millions out of poverty and increased economic vitality, but it also led to lower prices, greater variety
and quality, and to faster growth. However, Gregonis explained the US view that the current trade situation is neither free nor fair, as the core benefits of free trade—a better allocation of resources and welfare for both trading partners—are threatened. At the moment, the European Union imposes higher tariffs than the United States on a range of products, including cars and agricultural goods. Furthermore, other US products never make it to European markets due to regulatory restrictions, resulting in a goods trade deficit for the United States of USD 69 billion with Germany and USD 169 billion with the European Union. Gregonis noted that lower trade potential also limits innovation and therefore growth potential on both sides of the Atlantic.
Opening Statement by
US Consul General, Munich