BAB work experience student Sophie Chaney examines what trade and investment means to young people …
Last week BritishAmerican Business met with a group of American high school students visiting the UK on a two week immersion programme to find out more about the ‘special relationship’ between our two countries.
The main objective of this meeting was to discuss transatlantic trade and investment, but more importantly find out what it meant to students.
There is no doubt that transatlantic trade and investment is immensely important to our two economies. Bilateral trade in goods and services between the United States and United Kingdom accounts for more than $130 billion.
But it is also true, however, that trade has received a rather negative connotation over the past few years on both sides of the Atlantic – particularly in the wake of discussions around the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and other global trade agreements including the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) between America and 11 Pacific states. The end result of these negative connotations has been a break-down in trade talks.
Among the many complexities that led to this halt in talks was that trade proponents had not succeeded in making a good case for trade. Many people were not aware, and still aren’t, of the benefits of trade and therefore were not in favour of such agreements. What we discovered was that a new approach to trade talks is needed by Government and business.
We asked the students what their understanding of trade is, and what a business organisation like BritishAmerican Business should do.
It was broadly understood by the students that trade represents an exchange of goods and services between two parties that can provide economic benefits to both sides, but the students reiterated the importance of finding a ‘deal’ that is beneficial to both sides.
To the question of what can organisations like BAB do, one suggestion was to involve young people in the discussion. Encouraging students to think about their own lives, and the impact of trade. From where their sneakers and phones come from to the television shows they watch, to the food and drink they consume trade and investment already plays a significant role in their lives. So it is important they are part of the dialogue around trade.
The second question of what business can do to ensure that trade is ‘fair’, while more difficult to answer, still elicited interesting responses that focused on creating trade agreements that work for everyone through identifying areas of mutual benefit and governments building strong relationships with others around the globe.
By involving the next generation of leaders in discussions around trade and investment, BritishAmerican Business hopes we can deliver a strong message around the importance of trade, and the benefits it can provide to communities around the globe.
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