While the US and Europe draw closer over the Russian invasion of Ukraine, China is supporting Russia. Is there another west against east? Some companies fear for business relationships.

German and US companies are worried about a new world order with two blocs as a result of the Ukraine war.

“The companies do not want to have to choose between doing business in the USA and Europe on the one hand and Russia and China on the other,” said Simone Menne, President of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany (AmCham Germany), the German Press Agency. “There is a great concern that in the future there could only be black or white in economic relations.” It is important to maintain global trade relations and not to break the thread of the conversation.

Companies fear that China will regulate markets and future technologies more closely and make access more difficult for car manufacturers, Menne said at the annual general meeting of AmCham Germany this Wednesday and Thursday in Düsseldorf. The recent turmoil in world trade shows how vulnerable the supply chains are. In response to US sanctions against the Chinese telecommunications group Huawei, China has also excluded the American logistics group Fedex in some areas. At the same time, problems such as the climate crisis can only be solved globally.

China and Russia want to expand cooperation

After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, China avoided outright criticism of Russia, while Europe and the US moved together and passed a string of sanctions against Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin and China’s head of state Xi Jinping have agreed to expand cooperation between the states.

AmCham Germany is committed to economic relations between the USA and Germany. The Chamber represents both German companies trading in the United States and American companies in Germany. The total sales of the 50 largest US companies in Germany amounted to around 189 billion euros in 2020.

The war in Ukraine has strengthened the transatlantic alliance and is also driving companies to invest in renewable energies during the energy crisis, Menne said.

Despite criticism of the sluggish digitalization, the USA continued to value Germany as a business location. “This is shown by the new factory of the electric car manufacturer Tesla in Brandenburg and the planned Intel semiconductor plant in Magdeburg.” Because of the energy crisis, individual US companies were reluctant to invest in Germany. “But I don’t see a trend towards that,” said Menne.

Important projects in the transatlantic relationship are the legally secure exchange of data and the reduction of tariffs, after the dispute between the USA and the EU over American special tariffs on steel had been settled for the time being. The dismantling of such hurdles is more promising than a large transatlantic trade agreement.