EEC panel: ‘USA, EU, Poland – a new opening’ with AmCham Poland Chairman, Tony Housh

On September 21, AmCham Poland Chairman Tony Housh was a speaker at the European Economic Congress (Europejski Kongres Gospodarczy). The general topic covered was “USA, EU, Poland – a new opening?”

The first question asked was regarding the economic relationship between the U.S. and Europe, where Tony told the audience, “looking at the economic affairs between the U.S. and Europe, it is the largest and most important trading investment relationship in the world (40% of global trade), and the amount of commitment from the U.S. to Europe is multiples compared to investment in Southeast Asia and the Western Pacific.”

Next, Tony was asked about the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which is no longer a topic of discussion. Tony said, “narrow special interest groups killed TTIP. It was basically killed politically and not through business groups. This Trade agreement was quite ambitious in size and was quite unpopular in the public image through its branding being the problem. The general public saw it as a threat rather than an opportunity.” The solution suggested was “it is better to agree on standards, growth drivers, quantum computing, and other technological infrastructure through smaller and modest agreements, building on a stronger relationship rather than return to talk of large trade agreements.”

The Three Seas Initiative and the business environment in Central and Eastern Europe was the next topic of discussion. Tony responded, “Poland is a leading destination for U.S. investment in Europe with over 55 billion dollars of active assets from U.S. companies today alone. Poland and the countries in the Three Seas region must think about how they want to emerge in the new normal to take advantage of the human capital and nearshoring that will take place as a lesson learned from the pandemic and overextended supply chains. Therefore it is an opportunity that will come only around once a generation to make some fundamental changes that can help Central Europe become more cohesive and closer economically to its Western European partners. If politics does not get in the way, then that will be an opportunity to maximize investments in Europe because competition will not get any easier, but the economic optimism is there for the next few years.”