Michael Maibach realizes his lecture next Tuesday at Westminster College is likely to yield more questions than answers, but the leader of the European-American Business Council sees importance in merely bringing up relevant issues.
Maibach, president and chief executive officer of the global business association of 75 companies that support unrestricted trans-Atlantic investment and trade, said his "Trans-Atlantic Mega-Trends: Trade Ties and Frayed Ties" presentation will not focus strictly on business between the U.S. and Europe.
Maibach will discuss eight trends that have helped strain relations between the U.S. and Europe, many brought into focus by differences of opinion about the Iraq war.
"The people who would come to this speech care about the world around them, not just New York or L.A. but also what's going on in Beijing and Taiwan and Berlin and Barcelona," he said. "They care about their world and the American place in it. They could be a college student, a housewife, anybody. People would find an interest in it if they care about other cultures, about business and economics."
The trends he will focus on include the rise of pacifism and the decline of nationalism in Europe, and the decline of trans-Atlantic military alliances since the end of the Cold War. He also will talk about the rise of trans-Atlantic trade and investment, and globalization, primarily the rise of India and China bringing about 3 billion new capitalists into the global markets.
About 75 percent of foreign direct investment in the United States is made by European companies, and more than half of foreign investment in Europe is from American companies, he said.
"The irony is that even though we have these breaks with pacifism, religion, the military and demographics, we're becoming bigger trade and investment partners," said Maibach, who served as vice president of government affairs at Intel Corp. from 1983 to 2001.
Will the trends lead to stronger or weaker relations between the regions in the future? "That's the seminal question," Maibach said.
"There are opportunities and challenges. The question is, will U.S. society be able to change and adapt while embracing the world, to choose the right policies to compete?"
The American way is to find win-win outcomes, he said. "Americans have a huge opportunity with 3 billion new capitalists and all this technology a lot of which we have advanced to take advantage of this opportunity so that we can prosper and so can our trade partners, our competitors and our customers which is the way the world should be working."Maibach's lecture is free and open to the public. It begins at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday in the Vieve Gore Concert Hall at Westminster College. The event is presented as part of the Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy's Ambassador John Price and Marcia Price World Affairs Lecture Series, in partnership with Westminster's Weldon J. Taylor Executive Lecture Series. Details are at www.utahdiplomacy.org.