Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry Visits Washington
On June 24 and 25 a high-ranking delegation from the Liechtenstein Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) visited Washington.
LCCI President Klaus Risch of the Hilti Corporation was accompanied by H.S.H. Prince Maximilian von und zu Liechtenstein, CEO of LGT Bank; Guido Durrer, CEO of ThyssenKrupp Presta, as well as LCCI General Manager Josef Beck. Joined by Ambassador Claudia Fritsche, the aim of the visit was to strengthen relations and build a wider network within Washington to promote Liechtenstein-US commerce and trade.
From Left: Guido Durrer, Josef Beck, Ambassador Claudia Fritsche, H.S.H. Prince Maximilian von und zu Liechtenstein, and Klaus Risch
Industry and goods production are the largest contributors to Liechtenstein's economy, making up 37% of its GDP. After Germany, the US is Liechtenstein's second largest bilateral trading partner with several Liechtenstein companies operating in states across the US producing products for the construction and automotive industries, audio-visual and dental sectors and more. Liechtenstein companies provide roughly 3500 jobs in the US. Against Liechtenstein's population of 37,000, this is a significant number.
The LCCI delegation with Senator Ben Cardin (second from left).
The LCCI visit to DC focused on strengthening ties within the US Congress and to discuss Liechtenstein's request to negotiate a double taxation agreement with the US. The group met with Senator Ben Cardin as well as with senior staff of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. Within the House the LCCI met with Congressman Larry Bucshon, whose district includes ThyssenKrupp Presta, a producer of automotive steering components. Congressman Bucshon also serves as Co-Chair of the Congressional Friends of Liechtenstein Caucus. They also met with Congressman Jim Sensenbrenner, also Co-Chair of the Liechtenstein Caucus, as well as with Congressman Alan Lowenthal whose district includes a diamond-cutting facility acquired by the Hilti Corporation, a producer of drill and fastening tools for the construction industry. The group also met with Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.
The LCCI delegation with Congressman Larry Bucshon and Congressman Jeff Fortenberry.
The delegation also met with Mark Mazur, Assistant Secretary for Tax Policy at the US Department of Treasury, who also oversees bilateral tax agreements. The group presented the case for a double taxation agreement as part of the first steps in initiating talks.
Though Liechtenstein is not a member of the European Union it is a member of the European Economic Area (EEA) made up of all 28 members of the EU along with Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway. As an EEA member Liechtenstein is fully integrated into the EU Single Market and must adopt all rules and regulations pertaining to the trade in goods and services within the EU. Therefore, the outlook and progress of the negotiations between the US and the EU for a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are of great interest to Liechtenstein. The LCCI group therefore met with experts and organizations such as the National Foreign Trade Council, the Center for Transatlantic Relations and Johns Hopkins SAIS, as well as the Peterson Institute for Internationl Economics to learn more about the current state of the negotiations.
The visit was capped by a reception in honor of the LCCI hosted by Ambassador Claudia Fritsche at her residence, attended by Members of Congress, members of the diplomatic community and guests from the private sector, media and think-tank community.