I remember coming again and again to the Berliner Philharmonic then directed by the extraordinary Herbert Von Karajan.
I remember making my way under very difficult circumstances into East Berlin, via Checkpoint Charlie and on the U-bahn so I could see the Berliner Ensemble under Bertold Brecht’s widow, Helene Weigel.
And yes, I remember spending many evenings getting to know my classmates and brushing up on my German over a bier or two.
And they still resonate with me today. I will never forget the outpouring of sympathy and support by the German people during that difficult time.
But since 2009, both countries have seen slow but steady growth.
And forecasters show continued growth for both Germany and the U.S. in the years ahead.
Though I should note that we still have work to do, especially in the U.S., to ensure that everyone who wants a job, has a job.
There’s good reason for that: Since 2009, they have driven over one-fourth of America’s GDP growth.
Moreover, our economy has added nearly half-a-million manufacturing jobs over the past 26 months in the U.S. – our strongest surge since the 1990s.
The Commerce Department just released a report showing that manufacturing jobs provide wages and benefits 17% higher than others.
Or, as I often say: Build it here, Sell it Everywhere.
Both of our economies depend significantly on exports.
Exports account for about 14% of America’s GDP and German exports-beyond-the-EU represent about 19%.
More than 60% of that was manufactured goods.
Germany is America’s 5th largest trading partner.
And two-way trade of goods between our countries totaled nearly $150 billion in 2011, a 13% jump from 2010.
For example, our foreign commercial service officers and our embassies are constantly linking U.S. businesses with potential customers abroad.
In addition, we have just opened up new markets in Korea and Colombia.
About 80% of our tariffs in both of those countries are now zero.
Earlier this week in London, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk addressed the future possibility of a U.S.-EU trade agreement.
We have an interest in pursuing as ambitious a trade agreement as possible, provided it is based on a realistic sense of what can get done.
We need to engage in a candid dialogue about the political realities and sensitivities, and develop a clear path forward that supports jobs and growth.
The President rolled out a Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights.
And, as the EU considers new data protection measures, we should all keep in mind the goals of more trade, more cooperation, and more entrepreneurship. [
Beyond trade, we can and should also invest more in each other.
So let me turn to bilateral investment.
So I was thrilled to recently go to Tennessee to see a Volkswagen plant that is hiring 1,000 new workers this year to meet North American demand for the Passat.
The U.S. welcomes and encourages foreign investment in our economy.
It’s the 3rd largest source of FDI into the U.S. German investments including key industries such as chemicals and transportation equipment, as well as services sectors such as financial industries.
Altogether, German firms employ over half-a-million American workers… And I should note that the reverse is also true.
Through SelectUSA, we are underscoring the benefits of investing in the U.S.
Up to three-quarters of U.S. growth after World War II has been linked to technological innovation.
For example, here in Germany, there is a strong network of Universities of Applied Science, Technical Universities, and the Fraunhofer Research Institutes.
Among other things, we need this support in order to build on collaborations with German researchers on measurements and standards.
Their work could lead to better GPS systems – driving even more innovation through a technology with seemingly limitless applications.
I believe that we should do just that – not just to ensure a strong foundation for long-term growth but also to improve the quality of life for the next generation.
I saw this on full display two days ago at the Siemens training facility here in Berlin – where education and hands-on training are together under one roof.
And U.S. President Obama and I are thrilled that Siemens has brought this model to our community colleges in places like North Carolina.
After all, 13% of U.S. college graduates get STEM degrees, while in Germany, it’s closer to 25%. So we have some work to do back in the U.S.
“Lass’ sie nach Berlin kommen”…
“Let them come to Berlin”… and see the work that all of you are doing here today.