May 31, 2017
The Transatlantic Trade Relationship in Challenging Times - The Case of Belgium in the Heart of Europe
By Alvaro Morales Salto-Weis
On May 31st, the Atlantic Council’s Eurogrowth Initiative and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted Pieter De Crem, Belgium’s Secretary of State for Foreign Trade and former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense.
The lively round table discussion, moderated by Atlantic Council’s distinguished fellow Fran Burwell, focused on the future of the transatlantic relationship, with a special focus on trade and investment relations, defense and security ties, and the evolving political landscape on both sides of the Atlantic. Key takeaways from the discussion are:
- Belgium is a key partner to the US, as Belgian companies currently create more than 160.000 jobs in the U.S. Belgium is also the 10th largest foreign investor in the US and an attractive entrance gateway for American companies wanting to invest and export to Europe.
- While negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are currently at an impasse, there are feasible ways to work around the most conflictive points. Some areas were progress could be achieved involve e-commerce, SMEs and exchange of information.
- While populist parties have not emerged victorious in the latest round of European elections such as in France and The Netherlands, it would be premature to dismiss the threat they pose.