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Drifting apart or growing together? The primacy of the Transatlantic economy

Editor : Fondation Robert Schuman
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Whilst Transatlantic relations are undergoing a crisis due to the political rifts that irrupted over the issue of Iraq, economic relations, notably financial, have never been so close between the parties on either side of the Atlantic. They strengthened in 2003. During the first nine months of this year of political division direct European investments in the USA rose by 13% to reach 60 billion dollars.

Both European and American companies invest in each other's economies more than anyone else in the world. Transatlantic trading has risen beyond the 2,500 billion dollar mark; European investments in the USA are greater than 835 billion dollars; these economic links involve 12 million jobs on either side of the Atlantic.

The total production of American subsidiaries in Europe and that of European subsidiaries in the US rose to some 333 billion and 301 billion dollars respectively in 2000, ie a sum higher than the gross domestic product of most countries.

The USA invests five times more in Ireland than in China and nearly as much in the Netherlands than in the whole of Asia. Their subsidiaries sell as much in China as in Sweden, ten times less than in Germany, four times less than in France.

The 23rd Note by the Robert Schuman Foundation presents the translation of a study: "Drifting Apart or Growing Together ? The Primacy of the Transatlantic Economy.*" by Joseph P. Quinlan. The author demonstrates that in spite of the political rifts that have emerged over the last few years between the USA and Europe how much the Transatlantic links that structure the world economy have been strengthened.

This publication, with a preface by Daniel S. Hamilton, director of the "Center for Transatlantic Relations" at the Paul H. Nitze School within the Johns Hopkins University (Washington DC), provides surprising detailed figures that point out certain elements of reality to us. This must be read before making any comment about the world economy!
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Joseph-P. Quinlan
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