US bosses urge Biden to bring back Europeans to boost economy

Washington (AFP)

The US economy needs transatlantic flights: In the United States, employers are urging the Biden administration to immediately lift travel restrictions imposed on Europeans, while investments from the old continent have fallen by nearly a third last year.

While EU countries have decided to reopen their borders to Americans, provided they have been vaccinated or tested negative against Covid-19, the United States has kept them closed, which now allows trade Agitating the world’s annoyance.

The American Chamber of Commerce raised the torch on Friday, criticizing the lack of reciprocity and urging the government to allow the “early return” of European travelers.

The resumption of transatlantic travel “of vital importance to the economic recovery in full security” of the United States justified Marjorie Chorlins, vice president in charge of European affairs.

Travelers from the Schengen Area, the United Kingdom and Ireland have not been able to enter the United States since March 2020.

This “travel ban” is also in effect for South Africa, Brazil, China, India and Iran from different dates.

“Individual business engagement and international tourism will help drive economic growth and job creation for Americans across the country,” Chorlins said.

– “interconnected” –

The EU’s ambassador to the United States, Stavros Lambrinidis, told AFP that Brussels was “pushing” for reciprocity, emphasizing economic imperatives as well.

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“With our economies and populations deeply connected and our vaccination rates among the highest in the world, it will be important to safely open this side of the Atlantic as we both restart our economies.”

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During Joe Biden’s visit to Europe last week, the EU had already recalled that the EU/US economic partnership was the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world, accounting for 42% of global GDP and world trade in goods and services. did not represent less.

This did not persuade the US President to return the Europeans to the United States.

Yet beyond trading, it is the big investment that is at stake.

– “backbone” –

“Mutual investments (…) are the real backbone of the transatlantic economy,” note the authors of a 2021 report on the transatlantic economy co-produced by Wilson, along with the US Chamber of Commerce, EMCHAM EU, Johns University Hopkins. Center.

Over time, they have become “essential to employment and European and American prosperity”, he says.

Europe continued to account for more than 60% of foreign direct investment flowing into the United States during the first three quarters of 2020.

But by annualizing this data, these investments fell from $120 billion in 2019 to $81 billion in 2020, a decrease of 32.5%.

Hence the mobilization of the Chamber of Commerce when half of the year 2021 has already been completed.

During a visit to France on Friday, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken expressed hope that Europeans would soon be able to travel to the United States again.

“I hope it’s quick. We really want it,” he said. “I expect it to be a matter of weeks instead of months.”

But he immediately shrugged off his remarks, citing the type of virus called Delta, which first emerged in India and is actively circulating in Western countries.

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“We are certainly concerned about the Delta version and are closely monitoring its development,” replied Ambassador Stavros Lambrinidis.

But he emphasized that fully vaccinated people are “well protected” against the variant.

Instead of keeping borders closed, he advocates for expediting vaccination, vigilance and maintenance of barrier gestures.

For their part, airlines insist that it remains safe to travel by plane.

“Several scientific studies have confirmed that air travel carries a low risk of transmission,” a spokesperson for United Airlines said.

“And as the vaccine becomes more widely available, it is time to implement a reopening strategy to benefit both the economy and the traveling public,” she said.

Indicate that United believes in the imminent reopening of US borders: the company has added flights to destinations such as France, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Iceland, Portugal.

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