The US economy needs transatlantic flights: In the US, employers are urging the Biden administration to immediately lift travel restrictions on Europeans, while investment from the old continent collapsed by about a third last year.
While European Union countries have decided to reopen their borders to Americans, provided they are vaccinated against Covid-19 or test negative, the United States is keeping its borders closed, which is now alarming the business world.
The US Chamber of Commerce carried the torch on Friday, criticizing the lack of reciprocity, urging the government to allow the return of European travelers “as soon as possible”.
Marjorie Chorlins, the vice president in charge of European affairs, justified the resumption of transatlantic travel “in complete safety of critical importance to the economic recovery” of the United States.
Travelers from the Schengen area, the United Kingdom and Ireland have not been able to enter the United States since March 2020.
The “travel ban” has also been in effect, since various dates, in South Africa, Brazil, China, India and Iran.
“Personal business engagements and international tourism will help spur economic growth and job creation for Americans across the country,” Chorlins pleaded.
The EU ambassador to the United States, Stavros Lamprinides, told AFP that Brussels was “pressing” for reciprocity, also stressing economic imperatives.
“Our economies and populations are deeply interconnected and our vaccination rates are the highest in the world, and it will be essential to safely open this side of the Atlantic as well as restart our economies,” he added.
During Joe Biden’s visit to Europe last week, the EU had already stated that the EU-US Economic Partnership was the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world, accounting for at least 42% of global GDP and global trade in goods and services.
Unless the US President is persuaded to speed up the return of the Europeans to the United States.
However, beyond trade, huge investments are at stake.
” Backbones “
“Mutual investments (…) are the true backbone of the transatlantic economy,” note the authors of the 2021 report on the transatlantic economy co-produced by the US Chamber of Commerce, AMCham EU, Johns University Hopkins as well as the Wilson Center.
Over time, they say, they “become essential to European and American jobs and prosperity.”
Europe continued to provide more than 60% of FDI flowing into the United States in the first three quarters of 2020.
But by converting this data annually, these investments fell to $81 billion in 2020 from $120 billion in 2019, a decrease of 32.5%.
Hence the mobilization of the Chamber of Commerce when the 2021 half year is already completed.
On Friday, during a visit to France, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken expressed hope that Europeans would be able to visit the United States again soon.
“I hope it happens quickly. We really want it.” “I hope it’s a matter of weeks rather than months.”
But he immediately softened his remarks by referring to the type of virus called delta, which first appeared in India and is actively spreading in Western countries.
Ambassador Stavros Lamprinides responded, “We are of course concerned about the delta variant and we are watching its development closely.”
But he notes that fully vaccinated people are “well protected” from the variants.
Rather than keeping borders closed, he advocates speeding up vaccination, vigilance, and maintaining barrier gestures.
For their part, airlines insist that air travel remains safe.
“Several scientific studies have demonstrated that air travel has a low transmission risk,” a United Airlines spokeswoman said.
“As the vaccine becomes widely available, it is now time to implement a strategy of reopening to benefit both the economy and the mobile public,” she added.
A sign that United believes in an imminent reopening of the US border: The airline has added flights to destinations such as France, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Iceland and Portugal.
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