Global Business Gate Day #2

Programme for the day.


The 19th October 2018, it was time for the second Global Business Gate Day. This time the event’s focus was our, and EU’s, current and future trade relations with the US.

With the heading “Is the door to the US market about to close?” the stage was set for an interesting day.

It started out with intermixed speeches by Paul Narain, political and economic counselor at the US Embassy in Stockholm, and by Caroline Vicini, EU’s deputy ambassador to the US. What they said and spoke about was both fascinating and also a blunt disclosure of the gap between these two trade giants.
The reasoning behind their respective strategy was very well articulated by both sides.

These opening speeches were followed by Jéremié Cohen-Setton, Research Fellow at the Peterson institute for International Economics in Washington DC. Jéremié gave an intriguing insight into the mechanics of tariffs and trade barriers, not least the ones that have been implemented, or impended, in the last three years. Not least did Jéremié thoroughly explain the powers that the US president has when it comes to trade policy. It boils down to national security – something that Paul Narain earlier had touched upon.

The day continued with Anna Throne-Holst, CEO of the Swedish-American Chamber of Commerce (see link to GP-article for extensive interview), who highlighted her concern. – I have noted that it is not as obvious for business people to enter the US because of Trump’s access and the uncertainty that follows.

After this, a very substantial speech by Michael Koch, counselor at the Swedish National Board of Trade, followed. Michael outlined the Swedish strategy, and our dependency upon EU policy in these matters.

The day was moderated by Malin Persson, whom very elegantly guided the eagerness and inquisitiveness of the attentive audience. Not least was this pronounced by the way three practitioners, representing Mölnlycke Health Care, Hultafors Group and Elof Hansson, and three master students, from Göteborgs Universitet, were interwoven in the dialogues.

The day ended with a panel debate. In this debate Billy McCormac, Prime, and Johan Ingerö, Timbro, both with an opening speech proving their deep knowledge of the issue, complemented Anna and Michael. To say that the day ended on a happy note concerning future trade relations between EU and US would be an overstatement, but a mix of two quotes (Caroline Vicini and Anna Throne-Holst) sums up the feeling quite well – The simple answer so far is that it is much more talk than action. In New York, for example, as in a most other places in the US, we often hear that the US is ”open for business”. Remember – the United States is so much more than Washington DC.

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Reflections from students attending Global Business Gate Day #2

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