local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page

 last week

 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info
 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs
Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8060 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2002 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 

For the week of August 13 - 19, 2003


Ambassador to E.U. says relations are strong

Idaho and Europe closely linked,
Schnabel says

Express Staff Writer

The U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, on vacation in Ketchum this month, said trade between the United States and Europe is helping to advance the prosperity of people throughout the two regions, including in Idaho.

Rockwell Schnabel, U.S. ambassador to the European Union, speaks about international trade issues last week at his Ketchum residence. Schnabel, who works full time in Brussels, Belgium, has owned a home in Ketchum for 10 years. "I hope to retire here," he said. Express photo by David N. Seelig

Ambassador Rockwell Schnabel, a Ketchum homeowner and part-time resident, said last week that the United States and the 15 established E.U. nations together generate more than $1 trillion in trade and investment each year, money that filters into economies throughout the West.

"People might wonder, ‘What does a place like Idaho have to do with Europe?’" he said. "In fact, it has a lot to do with it."

Schnabel—who in 2001 was appointed by President George W. Bush to be the chief representative of the U.S. Mission to the E.U., in Brussels, Belgium—said more than 27,000 jobs in Idaho depend on trade with E.U. nations. European investment in Idaho supports an estimated 11,400 jobs in the state, he said. Merchandise exports to Europe support an additional 15,980 jobs.

He added that European countries invested nearly $1.2 billion in Idaho in 2000, 53 percent of the total invested in the state by foreign nations. In 2000, Europe was also the state’s second largest export market, buying nearly $1 billion worth of goods from Idaho enterprises, Schnabel noted.

The figures, the ambassador said, are a microcosm of the global economy, which is increasingly dependent on free and open trade to expand markets.

Schnabel said the E.U.—which now boasts a gross domestic product close to that of the United States—is actively seeking to become the world’s single largest economic power. "Their stated goal is that they want to be the most competitive economy in the world by 2010," he said. "They’re working on becoming a single market with no barriers, no borders."

The Euro, the E.U.’s common currency, is becoming more successful every day, he noted.

However, Schnabel said, United States officials are maintaining that free and equal trade policies will ultimately benefit both entities. "The U.S. can compete successfully in Europe," he said. "A prosperous European Union opens a market of 500 million people."

The U.S. Mission to the E.U.—which is the focal point for relations on all issues between the United States and the E.U.—is also pursuing policies to develop the economies of less-developed nations.

"Global poverty today is the number one problem that we face," Schnabel said, noting that the United States and the E.U. together account for more than 50 percent of the world’s gross production.

The U.S. Mission is currently conducting meetings with the World Trade Organization to discuss the possibility of opening up certain markets in the United States and the E.U. to less-developed nations. "We have a moral obligation to address poverty," he said.

Schnabel noted that security concerns brought forth after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks in the United States have created new challenges for trading nations. He said the United States and the E.U. are working closely together to provide security for trade containers and airplanes.

"Terrorism is one of the biggest issues in the world," he noted.

Relations are consistently improving between the United States and E.U. nations, the ambassador said, despite rifts produced last spring by the Bush administration’s approach to addressing perceived threats posed by Iraq. He said significant disagreements did mark the onset of the United State’s invasion of Iraq, but a recent meeting between President Bush and E.U. leaders proved consequential. "There were a lot of feelings to bury the hatchet," he said. "Things are on the right track again. I think we’ve turned the corner."

Schnabel said additional disagreements between the United States and E.U. nations have stemmed from agricultural-trade issues, particularly the E.U.’s refusal to allow genetically modified foods into Europe.

To counter efforts by European nations to keep genetically modified foods from being imported, the United States has filed a legal suit with the WTO to force Europe to accept them. "We feel that we have a good chance to win the case," Schnabel said, noting that a decision might not come for several years.

A second issue being handled by the U.S. Mission to the E.U. is the E.U.’s failure to recognize the geographical integrity of many products from the United States. The problem is epitomized in the case of exported Idaho potatoes, which can be sold in Europe as potatoes with no specific origin.

"It’s an issue," Schnabel said, noting that several of his 200 employees are working to resolve the dispute.

"All in all, I feel the partnership is extremely important for both sides," he said. "I feel optimistic for the future of the E.U."



City of Ketchum

Formula Sports


Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho

Premier Resorts Sun Valley

High Country Property Rentals

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.