New Hampshire Business Leader Stresses Importance of European Trade for American Companies

December 09, 2009

(Washington, D.C.)  - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen today held a hearing of the Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on European Affairs, which she chairs, to examine the economic, trade, and investment ties between the United States and Europe.  The hearing also explored increasing access to opportunities for further integration, expansion, and deepening of this critical partnership. Charles Howland, President of Warwick Mills Inc., a New Hampshire-based company that has developed into a world leader in innovative textile engineering, traveled to Washington to testify about the importance of European trade to his business. 

"With much of the global attention turning to rapidly developing economies, like China, India, and Brazil, it is easy to forget that, by far, America's largest, most vibrant, and perhaps most critical economic relationship is actually with Europe," said Shaheen. "It would be a mistake to neglect this crucial partnership as we attempt to dig ourselves out of this economic downturn and create jobs."

For every dollar in goods traded across the Atlantic, nearly four dollars are invested between the United States and Europe, and these investment dollars from Europe lead to jobs in the United States.  European investment supports tens of thousands of jobs in New Hampshire and an estimated seven million jobs across the country. 

As governor, Shaheen led New Hampshire's first trade delegation outside of North America, traveling to England, Ireland, Germany and Denmark on missions that generated millions of dollars for New Hampshire businesses.   Today, Europeans buy nearly $1 billion worth of goods from New Hampshire businesses, and European countries represent six of the top ten overseas markets for New Hampshire goods. 

"As a small business we exist on the value of our innovations and we must invent to thrive," said Howland. "To make a commercial success out of our inventions we must have access to markets that are deep and sophisticated. Europe is at the top of the list in these characteristics."

Testimony was also offered today by Robert Hormats, Under Secretary for Economic, Energy, and Agricultural Affairs, U.S. State Department; Dr. Frances Burwell, Vice President and Director of Transatlantic Relations & Studies, Atlantic Council of the United States; and Michael Maibach, President and CEO, European-American Business Council. 

"The U.S.-European economic relationship is one of the central drivers of the world economy," said Hormats. "Given the importance of transatlantic trade and investment in supporting high-quality jobs in the United States, I cannot empha enough the importance of making further efforts to remove barriers to commerce between the United States and Europe.  We need to build on this strong transatlantic foundation as we continue to construct new international economic rules and architecture to meet today's challenges."

Representing more than 800 million people, the combined economies of the United States and Europe generate a GDP of $32.7 trillion - which accounts for more than 50 percent of the world's GDP.  Both the United States and Europe represent each other's largest trading partners, and total trade between the two, which now stands at over $600 billion per year, represents an astounding 33 percent of the global trade volume.

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