Transatlantic Trade Agreement

Moderated by Rick Badie

The prospect of a Transatlantic Trade Agreement between the United States and the European Union might provide additional export opportunities for Georgia businesses. Today, an international chamber official touts the economic benefits of the trade agreement now under negotiation, while a local chamber executive highlights the 2014 Atlanta Science Festival.

Trade agreement grows jobs

By Martina Stellmaszek

The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is a trade agreement being negotiated between the European Union (EU) and the United States. The negotiations began in July 2013 and will continue in 2014. If the agreement passes, it will remove trade barriers, create jobs and potentially affect millions of people on both sides of the Atlantic.

The German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States helps to promote the economic and business interests of entities that work to develop and/or preserve ties between this region and the Federal Republic of Germany. We see passage of this landmark trade agreement essential to continued collaboration between U.S. and German companies.

Its impact on Georgia and metro Atlanta would be substantial. A total of 426 German companies operate in the area. There is also significant foreign direct investment from Germany in Georgia that represents industries like manufacturing, logistics, communications and transportation. Additionally, metro Atlanta is home to the world’s busiest airport; more than 95 million people pass through it each year. Georgia and the metro area have a vibrant international business community.

According to a study conducted by the Atlantic Council, Bertelsmann Foundation and British Embassy in Washington, Georgia’s economic relationship with the EU is already strong. A successful conclusion of the trade agreement would contribute significantly to future state growth. The EU purchased $6.3 billion worth of Georgia goods in 2012 and services worth $5.8 billion in 2011.

The study also looked at estimated impacts of full trade implementation on key Georgia segments — top sectors by export increase and estimated job growth in key sectors. Motor vehicles exports could increase by $1.9 billion; wood and paper products, by $561 million; chemicals, by $551 million, and transportation equipment, by $542 million.

As for estimated job growth, business services could create 4,362 jobs; non-electric machinery manufacturing, 494 jobs; other transportation equipment manufacturing, 380 jobs, and financial services, 417 jobs.

The study states that a successful implementation of the trade agreement is estimated to increase Georgia exports to the EU by 31.5 percent, and it could boost net employment by up to 24,660 jobs.

Needless to say, the outlook for Georgia with the passage of the trade agreement looks promising. It would open the door for more German companies to choose the U.S., particularly Southern states, to conduct business. This seems like a win-win situation for everybody. We strongly support passage of this agreement and are confident the EU and U.S. will be able to negotiate a successful transatlantic agreement.

Martina Stellmaszek is president and CEO of the German American Chamber of Commerce of the Southern United States.

Let’s shine a spotlight on science

By David Hartnett

Metro Atlanta is embarked on a weeklong celebration of science at its inaugural Atlanta Science Festival. This eight-day festival features more than 100 free events across 30 locations showcasing our strength in STEM: science, technology, engineering and math.

These interactive events allow people to explore science and see how science and technology connect to their lives — from the science of sleep and sound to interactive exhibits with robots.

In addition to exhibits, workshops and lectures, the festival includes behind-the-scenes tours of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, the Georgia Aquarium and laboratories at Georgia State and Emory universities. There is something for everyone. For a list of events, visit http://atlantasciencefestival.org/events.

The festivities conclude 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday with a “big bang” at the Exploration Expo at Centennial Olympic Park. Free and open to the public, this is the largest interactive science event in Atlanta’s history.

Modeled after similar science festivals in Philadelphia, San Diego and Boston, the Atlanta Science Festival aims to spotlight Atlanta as a “science city” and demonstrate how science contributes to education and the economy.

Emory University, Georgia Tech and the Metro Atlanta Chamber are founding partners of the festival. Each knows the importance of science and technology to the region and state. Georgia’s health IT sector employs more than 30,000 people. Georgia’s bioscience industry supports more than 94,000 jobs and delivers an annual economic impact of $20 billion. Nationally, metro Atlanta is the No. 3 metro for the number of engineering bachelor’s degrees awarded.

A strong science educational foundation will help our students get quality, high-paying jobs in the future. A recent study found Atlanta has the second-highest technology salaries in the nation, according to TriNet, a company that provides cloud-based human resource services. Technology-related workers here earn an average annual salary of $103,000.

When children are introduced to STEM learning at a young age, they tend to do better in school and become aware of different career and educational paths in high school. The potential impact on our future workforce is tremendous.

Metro Atlanta companies have showed their support by partnering with the festival. The organizing committee has secured more than 80 partners including Mercer University and Mercer Health Sciences Center, the National Science Foundation/NASA Center for Chemical Evolution, Delta Air Lines, AT&T Mobility, Cancer Treatment Centers of America and Georgia State University.

Let’s shine a spotlight on science. Support the Atlanta Science Festival. Follow it at Twitter at @ATLSciFest.

David Hartnett, vice president of economic development, bioscience and health IT cluster at the Metro Atlanta Chamber, is chair of the 2014 Atlanta Science Festival.


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