The Foxhall Group provides advisory services to businesses, associations, not-for-profits and individuals around the world to meet their objectives in a highly competitive, complex and ever changing world.
Foxhall Group assigns each client a project specific team of highly experienced consultants who understand the client's unique circumstances, and will work them to realize their objectives.
The Foxhall Group is an international consulting firm which provides global financial and economic advisory services, political and security risk assessment and market access strategies for the corporate and not-for-profit sectors.
The firm's regional competencies are Europe, the US, the Middle East, the Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC) and emerging markets.
Our advisors are issues experts across major industries, and our partnership network reaches across the globe.
Foxhall Group's ability to assist our clients spans the globe. Our advisors know the global marketplace, the workings of governments and are issue experts across key sectors and industries. We can arrange introductions to potential partners and investors, and we will guide our clients throughout a project's duration.
Our key expertise sectors are:
Foxhall Group provides clients with risk assessments and strategic advise about the increasingly complex markets in which they operate. We help our partners evaluate the political landscape and identify opportunities for sustainable success by providing:
  • Case-by-case advisory services to foreign governments and businesses on German and European Union market access issues as well as public relations and media access consultancy
  • Relationship building with key government, business and civil society stakeholders
  • Identification of and introduction to prospective business and strategic partners
  • Detailed assessment of investment climates and analysis of regulatory environments, and how these will impact our clients' long term growth plans
  • Advise emerging market governments on how to attract international businesses and investors
  • Development of detailed political and economic intelligence reports for the US, Europe and emerging markets
  • Organization of tailored trade and media missions on behalf of emerging markets to open commercial and opinion leadership dialogue
The financial crisis in Europe has created a wide range of issues for businesses and investors worldwide: fundamental uncertainty about the future of the Euro currency and doubt about the European Union are forcing a rethinking of sovereign risks worldwide. The proper navigation of this crisis has become vital to businesses and investors to ensure survival, regardless of the sovereign situations. However, the financial crisis has also created new opportunities to enter markets others are deeming not savable.
Foxhall Group can help navigate this crisis successfully using its deep experience in understanding the internal workings of the European Union. Foxhall Group's Advisors are uniquely positioned to:
  • Develop strategic plans to address perceived political and financial risks
  • Grant deep insights into the workings of the European Union
  • Help with the identification of decision makers and provide an assessment of their most likely views and motivations
  • Assist in understanding cultural differences that drive member state behaviors and processes
  • Provide assessments of likely political and financial risk
Understanding political events, terrorism and a constantly changing security landscape as they happen play a vital role in our client's day-to-day operations. Navigating and responding to crises while maintaining long-term vigilance and future preparedness is a key ingredient for companies in today's world. With over 30 years of expertise in political and risk management ranging from security and stability assessments to successfully dealing with hostage crises situations, Foxhall Group's Advisors are uniquely positioned to:
  • Develop immediate action plans to protect strategic interest in the event of political instability, terrorism and catastrophic events
  • Assess and advise on political and security risks and develop mitigation strategies
  • Advise clients how to continue operations in unstable political climates and how changing events on the ground will affect their interests
  • Help clients understand how the Arab Spring will affect their long term plans and regional dynamics
In February 2013, the US and the EU announced the beginning of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. The talks will cover market access, regulatory issues and non-tariff barriers and rules, principles and architecture for the overall agreement. Successful negotiations will yield comprehensive agreements that will set the new standard for global free trade, investment and standards agreements.
Foxhall Group has set up a special advisory arm for American and European companies with vital transatlantic interests to:
  • Understand the constantly changing dynamism of T-TIP
  • Analyze and advise on the broad range, complexity, and novelty of the issues on the agenda and to track the substantive details and progress of the talks
  • Ensure that our client's interests are heard by regulators and policymakers
Advisory Boards:
  • Advisors of the Foxhall Group are able to join advisory boards for temporary or permanent positions or can introduce suitable individuals
Executive Boards:
  • In certain situations where a more hands-on approach is required, the Foxhall Group can provide executive board positions
Search Services:
  • Utilizing our extensive network to political leaders, business executives, senior diplomats and thought-leaders worldwide, the Foxhall Group can provide confidential search services for executive positions or board memberships
Speaking Engagements and Conferences Services:
  • Advisors of the Foxhall Group are available for speaking engagements and can help identify and recruit world-class speakers to participate at clients' events
Introductory Services:
  • Occasionally, our clients needs a simple introduction. Advisors of the Foxhall Group can help with such requests on a selective basis
The Foxhall Group provides cross-cultural training and executive coaching to international companies, governmental institutions, and non-profit organizations on issues related to working and positioning in a diverse business environment or multi-cultural setting.
Areas of expertise include cross-cultural communication, inter-religious and intercultural dialogue, team-building and teamwork, crisis management and conflict resolution, as well as business etiquette and business behavior in a cross-cultural setting.
  • Cross-Cultural Consulting, Executive Coaching and Training
  • Academic Research and Teaching in Middle Eastern Studies
Our key expertise sectors are:
Berlin's booming Real Estate market has seen a wave of private investors buying property in one of Europe's fastest growing cities. Foxhall Group, headquartered in Berlin, advises both foreign and domestic investors in identifying and purchasing residential and commercial real estate properties as well as assisting them in navigating the local formalities of such investments. Our advisors have worked with clients form around the world, including investors stemming from the Middle East, and have intricate knowledge of the language and culture of this region to effectively communicate with our clients and connect them to prime real estate locations.
  • Identify potential investments and organize clients visits to view the properties
  • Assist clients in understanding the formalities of purchasing properties in Germany and work with them in navigating the legal parameters of such investments
Global Advisors
Global Advisors
Global Advisors
Managing Director
Felix Chrobog
State Secretary ret. / Ambassador ret.
Expertise: International Diplomacy, Risk Assessment & Emerging Markets
Mr. Chrobog was the Chairman of the Board of the BMW Foundation Herbert Quandt, a non-profit organization focused on connecting business leaders from around the world until July 2013. He chaired numerous conferences of the Foundation in the US, Asia, the Middle East, South Africa and Western and Eastern Europe, including Russia and has established close personal relationships in these regions. As part of the Foundation’s global agenda, Mr. Chrobog promoted issues on Responsible Leadership, Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship.
From 2001 to 2005 Mr. Chrobog served as State Secretary of the German Federal Foreign Office. As the highest-ranking civil servant he represented the Foreign Minister at the helm of the Foreign Service. He was directly responsible for Asia, Africa, the Near and Middle East and Latin America and dealt with Foreign Trade and Economic matters comprising Export Control and Export Guaranties for the German Government. He was also responsible for all issues related to the United Nations, Cultural Affairs, Education and Communications. He is still part of the network of the German Foreign Office and therefore well connected to German Embassies worldwide.
Mr. Chrobog oversaw all ongoing conflicts worldwide as well as the safety of German nationals living or stationed abroad. As State Secretary, Mr. Chrobog ran the German Risk Assessment Center which issues worldwide travel warnings. He was in charge of the Crisis Management Center and became internationally known as a negotiator for the release of hostages in Algeria, Mali and other countries.
His experience in countries such as Egypt, Libya, Algeria, Jordan, Yemen, Tunisia and the Golf States, where he consulted with leading politicians for many years, made him a frequently demanded participant on TV and radio talk shows and a writer for newspapers commenting on the revolutionary developments in this region. Mr. Chrobog is also well connected in Asian countries such as China, India, Pakistan and other emerging markets.
From 1995 to 2001 Mr. Chrobog served as Germany’s Ambassador to the United States in Washington, DC. During this period he represented the German Government on political, trade and cultural issues, assisted German companies operating in the United States on legal and investment matters, and spoke on all political issues dealing with the German-American bilateral relationship. While in Washington, DC, Mr. Chrobog developed a strong personal network with key US policymakers, business leaders and members of the cultural community.
Prior to his appointment as Ambassador, Mr. Chrobog held top positions in the German Foreign Office such as Political Director General, Spokesman and Chief of Staff of the German Foreign Minister. He started his diplomatic career as member of the German Delegation at the UN in New York and later as Deputy Ambassador and Economic Counselor in Singapore. Because of his international experience Mr. Chrobog is specialized in risk assessment and management in developing countries and emerging markets.
Mr. Chrobog studied law in Freiburg, Aix-en-Provence, and Goettingen and worked as an attorney at a Hanover law firm before entering the Foreign Service in 1972. He speaks German, English, and French.
Global Advisors
Mr. Hendrik Borggreve
Global Advisor
Expertise: Banking & Finance
Mr. Borggreve has over 30 years of experience in Banking and Finance. He is currently Senior Advisor and Member of the Supervisory Board of the Royal Bank of Scotland AG, in Frankfurt/Main, Germany. In his prior capacity he was Member of the Supervisory Board, Delbrueck Bethmann Maffei and Member of the Board of ABN AMRO Bank. He also served as CEO and Senior Advisor to Salomon Smith Barney Group, Salomon Brother AG as well as CEO at Kleinwort Benson GmbH in Frankfurt/Main. Mr. Borggreve was the Executive Director of Lehman Brothers Bankhaus AG, Frankfurt. In addition, he held high ranking positions at Banque Paribas, Commerzbank and Bayer AG.
Mr. Boggreve holds a law degree in Munich and Hamburg.
Global Advisors, GCC& Middle East
Ms. Alyazia Khalifa Al Marri
Global Advisors, GCC& Middle East
Expertise: Finance, Merger & Acquisitions, GCC Legal System, Investments, Joint Ventures, Market Entry
Ms. Al Marry, a national of the UAE, has over 14 years of experience in senior management positions including those of Audit and Finance Director in the UAE Government. She is an expert in setting up M&A and JV structures, formulating and implementing policy guidelines and processes across numerous GCC sectors and industries.
Besides her role as Global Advisor at the Foxhall Group, where she advises the firm’s clients on GCC related issues, Ms. Al Marri served as former Finance Director and current Internal Audit Director at the Office of His Highness, the Crown Prince of Dubai. She is also the owner of a Dubai based audit firm and a finance expert registered at UAE courts and arbitration centers.
Global Advisors
Mr. Hartmut Grossmann
Global Advisor
Expertise: Finance & Regulatory Issues
Mr. Grossmann is a financial services executive with over 30 years of experience in the United States focusing primarily on regulatory and compliance matters in the banking/securities and investment management segments.
He advises leading U.S. domestic and international clients on establishing compliant and effective business structures, policies, procedures and processes. Mr. Grossmann has extensive experience in dealing with the complex regulatory system in the United States (including establishing businesses and obtaining approvals).
Mr. Grossmann has served for 20 years as Chief Operating Officer of Dresdner Bank’s North American operations, as Managing Director of an ultra-high net worth investment manager, as Senior Compliance official of a global diversified insurance/financial services group and at the World Bank. He also served as a monitor for the Bundeskartellamt and the Federal Trade Commission. Mr. Grossmann now heads his own consultancy firm in New York City.
Mr. Grossmann is a lawyer by training with degrees from the University of Hamburg, Germany and the University of California at Berkeley. He is admitted to the bar of the State of New York and Washington, D.C.
Global Advisors
Mr. Craig R. Helsing
Global Advisor
Expertise: Automotive
Mr. Helsing is an expert in the Automotive Sector with over 20 years of experience in the Industry. Most recently he served as Vice President, BMW (US) Holding Corp. In this position, he was responsible for the political, economic and diplomatic representation for all BMW activities in the United States involving BMW Group brands (BMW, MINI and Rolls-Royce Motors Cars), BMW and Husqvarna Motorcycles, BMW Manufacturing Corp., BMW Bank of North America, BMW Financial Services, DesignWorks and BMW of North America. Mr. Helsing’s past responsibilities with BMW have also included serving as Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Corporate Communications, BMW of North America and also as Vice President for Customer Relations, also with BMW of North America. He retired from BMW in the spring of 2013 after more than 21 years with the corporation.
Immediately prior to joining BMW in 1992, Mr. Helsing was nominated by President George H.W. Bush, confirmed by the U.S. Senate and served as an Assistant Secretary for Legislative and Inter-Governmental Affairs at the U.S. Department of Commerce. He also served as Chief of Staff to U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Robert A. Mosbacher.
Mr. Helsing's other government services have included staff positions in The White House and the Office of Management and Budget.
Mr. Helsing holds a JD degree from George Mason University School of Law and a BS degree in Economics and Finance from Millikin University.
Global Advisors
Mr. Ruediger Lentz
Global Advisor
Expertise: Media & Transatlantic Relations
Mr. Lentz has over 20 years of experience in Media and Transatlantic Relations. He is currently the Executive Director of the Aspen Institute in Berlin, Germany. Prior, Mr. Lentz was the Founder and Executive Director of the German-American Heritage Museum and Foundation in Washington, DC. From 1998 until 2009 he acted as the Washington Bureau Chief and Senior Diplomatic Correspondent for Deutsche Welle TV and Radio, following his assignment as Deutsche Welle’s Brussels Bureau Chief. Mr. Lentz is an expert in TV and Media and served as the Executive Director of German TV. In this capacity he was responsible for the branding and market entrance plan of German TV in the US.
Before joining Deutsche Welle, Mr. Lentz worked as a correspondent for the German news magazine Der Spiegel and as a TV commentator and reporter at ARD/WDR, Germany’s largest public TV and radio station. He also held various positions including that of Editor in Chief at RIAS-TV Berlin.
Mr. Lentz served in the German Armed Forces for eight years and is a specialist in Strategy and Defense policies. He has been a Visiting Lecturer at Harvard University, Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and a regular guest on CNN and C-Span.
He is a long time member of the Atlantik-Bruecke and a founding member of the German-American Business Council (GABC) in Washington, DC.
Mr. Lentz studied international relations, history and economics at the University of Hamburg.
Global Advisors
Mr. John B. Richardson
Global Advisor
Ambassador ret.
Expertise: European Union & Maritime Policy
Mr. Richardson is an expert on the European Union. From 1973 to 1996 he occupied various posts at the European Commission, including EU negotiator for trade in services during the Uruguay Round, and Unit Head, first for relations with the US, then for relations with Japan. In 1996 Mr. Richardson became Deputy Head of the Commission’s Delegation to the United States in Washington, DC and in 2001 Ambassador and Head of the EU Delegation to the UN in New York. On returning to Brussels, Mr. Richardson headed the Task Force, which developed the Integrated Maritime Policy for the EU, which the European Council adopted in December 2007.
Mr. Richardson is a Senior Adviser with the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a Member of the Board of Trustees of Sail Training International, and the Chairman of the Award Committee of the European Sea Ports Organization. He has Masters Degrees in Chemistry from the University of Cambridge and Economics from University College London. He spent four years as an economist with Unilever, before joining the European Commission to work on environmental policy in 1973. His maritime interests now include shipping, shipbuilding, environmental technology, offshore oil and gas and renewable energy, satellite surveillance, and the Arctic. Mr. Richardson is fluent in German, English and French.
Global Advisors
Mr. Hermann Sturm
Global Advisor
Expertise: SME / Economic & Trade Issues
Mr. Sturm is the President of the Union of Middle-Sized Enterprises in Germany (UNION MITTELSTÄNDISCHER UNTERNEHMEN e.V.), the Association of Family Owned Companies (Wir Eigentümerunternehmer) and Central Association of German Engineers (ZENTRALVERBAND DEUTSCHER INGENIEURE e.V.).
In his capacity as the President of the Union of Middle-Sized Enterprises, Mr. Sturm is an instrumental link between German SMEs and the government. As President of the organization Mr. Sturm has gained international recognition awarding worldwide renowned political and economic leaders with the Global and European Elite Award.
Mr. Sturm is the CEO of Pentagon GmbH and various Real Estate / Asset Management / Consultancy companies. With a vast background in Engineering and Real Estate he is a well renowned advisor in the planning, construction and management of Hotels / Commercial and Residential properties as well as Facilities Management companies.
Global Advisors
Mr. Marc Joachim Waeber
Global Advisor
Expertise: Compliance, Corporate Governance, Investigation & Regulatory Issues
Mr. Waeber is an internationally recognized practitioner and advisor in the areas of Compliance, Corporate Governance and Investigations. He counsels and supports clients on a broad range of Compliance, Corporate Governance and business-related matters, including director’s duties and responsibilities. This advice is often provided to the board of directors, the senior executive leadership team and the audit committee.
As Principal of Pohlmann & Company LLP, a leading and award winning advisory firm, he advises and supports Compliance Officers and General Counsels on the design and implementation of effective and efficient compliance management systems including the set-up of the respective organizational framework. His areas of expertise include the implementation of business-related, risk-based compliance policies, processes and applications. Mr. Waeber is a recognized subject matter expert in the area of business process (re)design, optimization and implementation.
Mr. Waeber has lived abroad for over 15 years and has extensive management experience in various positions, both in industry and consulting. From 2004 through 2010 he was Executive Manager and member of the extended management team of PwC Consulting (Germany), where he played an active role in setting up the global Governance, Risk and Compliance practice group. Subsequently until 2012 he has been the Corporate Compliance Officer and Head of Remediation of Ferrostaal AG.
Mr. Waeber has studied law and holds a master degree in international business administration. He is a member of the Austrian Standards Institute Compliance Committee and recipient of the JUVE Gründerzeitpreis 2013 as well as the PwC Innovators Club Award 2010. Furthermore he has co-published a book and numerous academic papers in the area of compliance and internal investigations. Mr. Waeber speaks German, English and Spanish.
Global Advisors
Mr. Wolfgang-Joachim Waeber
Global Advisor
Expertise: Transportation & Aviation Industry
Mr. Waeber is an expert in the Transportation Industry with over 40 years of experience in Civil Aviation. He is currently the Senior Advisor to Citigate Dewe Rogerson Moscow and Infomost Consulting, in Moscow as well as Advisor to the CEO of UTair Group. Mr. Waeber is a specialist on topics regarding Business Strategy, Government Affairs and Public Policy with EU institutions and the Russian Federation, Human Resources Management, Network Management including Alliance Building, and MRO Strategic Development.
As a former advisor to the Executive Board of the Lufthansa Group he has also held numerous other high-ranking positions within the company including Managing Director of European & Government Affairs in Brussels, and Vice President of Corporate Government & International Relations in Washington, DC. Mr. Waeber worked for Lufthansa AG in several countries including the USA, Iran, Indonesia, Turkey, Ghana and France.
Mr. Waeber holds a degree in civil aviation management and is a member of various international Boards. He is the recipient of the Federal Republic of Germany Friendship Award. Mr. Waeber is fluent in German, English and French.
Global Advisors
Dr. Wolfgang Baare-Schmidt, LL.M.
Global Advisor
Expertise: Law & Transatlantic Relations
Dr. Wolfgang Baare-Schmidt has over thirty years of experience as an attorney. Since its formation in 1995 he has been Senior Counsel in the law firm of WEITNAUER Attorneys, CPAs & Tax Advisors in Munich, Germany. He is deeply involved in Transatlantic economic, political and security issues. From 1987-2008, Dr. Baare-Schmidt worked as Senior Advisor and Managing Partner in US / German Real Estate companies investing in commercial real estate primarily in Atlanta, Boston, Washington DC, New York, Chicago, Toronto, Florida, Texas and Colorado.
In 1964 Dr. Baare-Schmidt carried the German Flag at the Tokyo Olympic Games International Olympic World Youth Camp. Dr. Baare-Schmidt commenced his career for the first eight years as a career officer (Z8) in the German Army (1966 – 1974) as an active duty paratrooper, fixed wing (PPL) and helicopter pilot (MHPL). In 1968 he was an exchange officer at the US Military Academy West Point, and left the Bundeswehr in 1974 as Captain and Alouette II Squadron Commander. From 1974 to 1997 he was an active reserve officer helicopter pilot (with private fixed wing licence PPL) , before retiring in 1997 as Lieutenant Colonel and deputy commander of an antitank helicopter regiment.
Dr. Baare-Schmidt studied law from 1974 to 1977 at the Universities of Kiel, Lausanne, Geneva, London (LSE), and Hamburg (1st State Exam 1977). As a Fulbright Scholar in 1977/1978 he earned his LL. M. from Tulane Law School, New Orleans. He was admitted to the Hamburg bar in 1982, received his Dr./PhD in law in 1983 from the University of Tuebingen, Germany and worked for various law firms in Hamburg, New Orleans, Washington D.C., and Atlanta; from 1985 to 1987 he served on the Management Board of the Coca-Cola GmbH in Essen, Germany, and was admitted to the Munich bar in 1987. He is fluent in German, English and French.
Global Advisors
Mr. Karim Yusef Gohar, MA
Global Advisor
Expertise: Policy, Government Affairs & Social Development / Non-Profit
Mr. Gohar has 35 years of experience in Policy, Government Affairs and the Social Development / NGO sector. As part of his social development work he has operated community development and poverty reduction programs in the Middle East and North Africa region. Mr. Gohar has managed and overseen a wide spectrum of complex internationally spanning advisory, policy, consultative, monitoring, and evaluative services. Over his long career, he has developed skills in formulating NGO development strategies at national and local levels and designed NGO grant programs in accordance with EU and US contractual and financial standards. He is a specialist in designing, monitoring, and assessing development projects in the areas of community development, basic education, NGO capacity building, and health care.
As part of an international team tasked with establishing Lebanon’s Economic and Social Fund for Development, Mr. Gohar was appointed Senior Consultant for Community Development. Further, he was the Founding Director of the USD 80 million Egyptian Swiss Development Fund (ESDF). In this capacity, he facilitated negotiations between the Egyptian and Swiss governments and led the launch of this major poverty alleviation effort implemented through NGOs in Egypt. He subsequently carried out the full range of management responsibilities to operationalize this Fund. Prior to this, Mr. Gohar served as USAID Egypt's Private Voluntary Organizations & Food for Peace Officer, managing and monitoring USAID’s sizeable portfolio of grants to international and grass root NGOs for 10 years.
Mr. Gohar’s experience and insights in establishing and operating NGO social development programs are enhanced by numerous other assignments in the Middle East with UNDP, EU, USAID, SDA, GIZ, CARE, CARITAS, and other international organisations in the areas of needs and capacity assessment, assistance to NGOs in project design and operation, and formative evaluations. He maintains an extensive network in the MENA region and has deep insights into the Egyptian political workings.
Mr. Gohar holds a Master’s degree in Near Eastern Studies from Princeton University and is fluent in English and Arabic.
Global Advisor, GCC, Middle East, Africa
Mr. Karim Chrobog
Global Advisor, GCC, Middle East, Africa
Expertise: FDI, JVs, M&As, Market Access Africa and Middle East, Media, Communications
Mr. Chrobog oversees the firm’s GCC, Middle East, and Africa practice based out of Dubai and Washington, DC. He has provided in depth advice on strategic and global expansion matters to companies in the hospitality, F&B, medical, automotive and technology sectors. With a decade-long media background, Mr. Chrobog also advises on strategic and crisis communications and media related issues.
Mr. Chrobog holds a degree in International Politics from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, and a Corporate Masters from ESADE (Spain), a Masters in International Business from FGV (Brazil), and a Masters in International Business from Georgetown University. He speaks German, Arabic and English.
Kolumne von Juergen Chrobog
June 2014
Das Transatlantische Freihandels- und Investitionsabkommen - Risiko oder Chance?!
Europa und die europäische Wirtschaft stehen vor einer wichtigen Entscheidung.
Die Transatlantische Handels- und Investitionspartnerschaft (TTIP) wird zurzeit zwischen der EU-Kommission und den USA verhandelt. Der Ausgang dieser Verhandlungen hat weitreichende Auswirkungen auf die transatlantischen Wirtschaftsbeziehungen und das transatlantische Verhältnis insgesamt. Im Februar 2013 setzte sich Präsident Obama als erster amerikanischer Präsident in seiner Rede an die Nation vor beiden Häusern des Kongresses öffentlich für den Abschluss eines Transatlantischen Freihandels-und Investitionsabkommens ein. Er entsprach damit einem Anliegen, das auf europäischer und vor allem deutscher Seite immer wieder ins Gespräch gebracht worden war. Nach einem Jahrzehnt ergebnisloser Verhandlungen im Rahmen des sog. transatlantischen Businessdialogs gibt es jetzt den politischen Willen, ein umfassendes Abkommen zwischen den beiden wichtigsten Wirtschaftsräumen der Welt abzuschließen. Die ursprüngliche Hoffnung, die Verhandlungen noch vor den US-Kongresswahlen im November oder sogar vor dem Ende der Amtszeit der EU-Kommission abschließen zu können, ist allerdings nach vier schwierigen Verhandlungsrunden verflogen. Ideologisch motivierte Stimmungen, kulturelle Ängste und eine in manchen Schichten der Gesellschaft tief verwurzelte Abneigung gegen die Globalisierung und einen freien Welthandel gefährden die öffentliche Zustimmung und erschweren die Verhandlungen. Der Ausgang der Europawahl mit dem Erstarken rechts-populistischer und europakritischer Parteien erleichtert die Kompromissbereitschaft in Europa nicht. Insbesondere in Deutschland, dem Land, das am stärksten an einem freien Außenhandel interessiert ist, gibt es großen gesellschaftlichen Widerstand. Statt vorurteilslos Vor- und Nachteile gegeneinander abzuwägen, wird in der öffentlichen Debatte überwiegend auf die Risiken hingewiesen: der Freihandel gefährde unser Sozialsystem und verletze Arbeitnehmerrechte. Die „Deutsche Angst“ ist nicht zu überhören. Aber auch in den anderen EU-Mitgliedstaaten gibt es erhebliche Vorbehalte.
Gespeist wird die Kritik an dem Abkommen durch die Intransparenz der Verhandlungen. Zwar ist es nicht möglich, derartig komplexe Verhandlungen öffentlich zu führen, aber nicht einmal das europäische Verhandlungsmandat ist allgemein bekannt, noch gibt es ausreichende Informationen über Zwischenergebnisse. Nur Regierungen und Ausschüsse des Europäischen Parlaments sind unterrichtet. Das schürt den Argwohn vieler Bürger, dass die Bürokraten in Brüssel den USA zu Lasten unseres Gesellschaftsmodells zu weit entgegenkommen.
Diese Kritik scheint inzwischen in Brüssel ernst genommen zu werden. Sowohl Jean-Claude Juncker wie Martin Schulz haben während des Wahlkampfes zugesagt, sich für mehr Transparenz einzusetzen. Der deutsche Wirtschaftsminister teilt diese Auffassung, verweist allerdings auch zu Recht darauf, dass man erst am Anfang der Verhandlungen stehe und das Europäische Parlament und die nationalen Parlamente am Ende entscheiden müssten.
Worin liegt die Bedeutung von TTIP?
In der globalisierten Welt brauchen wir internationale Regelungen vor allem in der Wirtschaft, im Welthandel, bei Dienstleistungen und Finanzen. Zurzeit verhandeln die USA mit den 28 Mitgliedstaaten der EU über TTIP und mit 16 asiatischen Staaten über ein Transpazifisches Handelsabkommen (TPP). Es entstehen globale Wirtschaftsräume, in denen die zukünftigen Standards und Normen im internationalen Wirtschafts- und Warenverkehr festgelegt werden. China, Brasilien und andere Schwellenländer positionieren sich ebenfalls. Damit wird die Frage immer wichtiger, wer die zukünftigen Standards setzt und Normen bestimmt und damit seine Wettbewerbsfähigkeit steigert und wirtschaftliche Macht ausbaut. Mit diesem Abkommen besteht möglicherweise zum letzten Mal die Möglichkeit für uns Europäer an dieser Gestaltung mitzuwirken.
Viel steht für die westlichen Marktwirtschaften und damit auch die EU auf dem Spiel. USA und EU erbringen 46% der Weltwirtschaftsleistung. 13 Millionen europäische Arbeitsplätze hängen allein vom transatlantischen Handel ab. Das Ifo-Institut in München hat die langfristigen Handelsgewinne aus dem geplanten Abkommen für Deutschland auf 4,4 % des Bruttoinlandsprodukts geschätzt. Ob letzteres so zutrifft, wird die Zukunft zeigen. Die Dimension der laufenden Verhandlungen wird aber deutlich.
Bei TTIP geht es weniger um die Verringerung von Zöllen, die im transatlantischen Wirtschaftsaustausch relativ niedrig sind. Wichtiger ist der Abbau nicht-tarifärer Handelshemmnisse. Hier liegen die größten Chancen aber auch die größten Risiken. Die Vertragsgegner fürchten ein Aufweichen des Verbraucherschutzes und eine Schwächung unserer Sozialstandards. Die Wirtschaft verspricht sich durch die Entbürokratisierung des Welthandels Kosteneinsparungen und erleichterten Zugang zum jeweils anderen Markt.
In der europäischen Gesellschaft – gerade in Deutschland – überwiegen die Vorbehalte. Man sieht eher die Risiken als die Chancen. Besonders, wenn es um die Einfuhr von Agrarprodukten aus den USA geht, wird die Reaktion feindselig. Keine öffentliche Diskussion ohne den Hinweis auf die berühmten Chlorhähnchen, um die sich seit Jahrzehnten der Streit dreht und die schon zum Symbol der unterschiedlichen Auffassung von Nahrungsmittelsicherheit geworden sind. Dabei handelt sich auf der US-Seite um ein chemisches Desinfektionsverfahren um den Befall durch Krankheitserreger bei Geflügel auszuschließen. Darüber, ob der Verzehr chlorbehandelter Hühner gesundheitsschädlicher ist als der unseres mit Antibiotika behandelten Geflügels, lässt sich streiten. Eine Lösung dieses Streits kann nur in einer deutliche Kennzeichnungspflicht zum Schutz der Verbraucher liegen, oder man klammert das Problem aus und bleibt bei den jeweiligen Einfuhrverboten. Genetisch veränderte Organismen (z. B. Genmais) und hormonbehandeltes Fleisch sind andere Streitpunkte. Beim Genmais hat sich inzwischen die US-Agrarlobby durchgesetzt. Der Anbau ist gegen früheren Widerstand in Europa erlaubt und liegt in der alleinigen Zuständigkeit der einzelnen EU-Mitgliedstaaten.
Wichtigstes Ziel der Verhandlungen ist die gegenseitige Anpassung von Standards. Ob sich in den Verhandlungen jeweils der verbraucher-, arbeitnehmer- und umweltfreundlichste Standard durchsetzen wird, ist zweifelhaft und die Sorge daher berechtigt. Wie hiesige Kritiker vermelden, haben sich in dem entsprechenden, zwischen den USA und Kanada ausgehandelten Abkommen die USA stärker durchgesetzt. Die Auswirkung auf die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit ist enorm. Jede Seite hält die eigenen Standards für die besten.
Es ist ein Vorurteil zu glauben, dass die europäischen Standards immer die besseren sind. In der Pharmaindustrie, um nur ein Beispiel zu nennen, sind die Amerikaner stringenter als die Europäer. Ziel der Verhandlungen sollte eine gegenseitige Anerkennung wissenschaftlicher Ergebnisse sein, um wiederholte kostenaufwendige Prüfverfahren zu vermeiden. Bei vergleichbaren wissenschaftlichen Standards in den USA und in Europa sollte die Anerkennung eines Medikaments erleichtert werden. Das würde zu gewaltigen Kosteneinsparungen auch im Interesse der Verbraucher führen.
Das Thema der gegenseitigen Anerkennungen von Normen und Standards erstreckt sich auf fast alle Bereiche der Wirtschaft. Insbesondere die Automobilindustrie könnte im großen Maßstab von einem Freihandelsabkommen profitieren. Norbert Reithofer bezifferte auf der letzten BMW-Hauptversammlung die Kosten, die der deutschen Autoindustrie pro Jahr durch Zölle zwischen der EU und den USA entstehen, auf eine Milliarde Euro. Wenn diese wegfielen und man darüber hinaus erreichen könnte, dass jeweilige technische Standards z. B. bei Autozubehör wie Rückspiegel, Beleuchtung u. a. akzeptiert würden, würde dies zu großen Kosteneinsparungen führen.
Das Beispiel Autoindustrie zeigt, dass der Vorwurf, das geplante Handelsabkommen diene nur den Großen, unzutreffend ist. Gerade die vielen mittelständischen Zuliefererunternehmen wären die Gewinner, wenn diesseits und jenseits des Atlantiks entweder einheitliche Standards gelten oder Abweichungen von der Norm jeweils akzeptiert würden. Gerade die deutschen Mittelständler, die häufig auch Weltmarktführer sind, würden durch den Wegfall von Zöllen, die Anerkennung von Standards und eine Entbürokratisierung erheblich profitieren.
Eines der schwierigsten Themen der Verhandlung ist das geplante Investitionsschutzabkommen. Es geht darum, dass internationale Konzerne durch private Schiedsgerichte rechtsstaatliche Verfahren aushebeln können. So könnte z. B. ein US-Großunternehmen vor einem privaten Schiedsgericht gegen eine neue EU-Gesetzgebung, z. B. zum Umweltschutz, wegen Schädigung eigener Geschäftsinteressen klagen und von dem betreffenden Staat oder der EU hohen Schadensersatz wegen Gewinneinbußen verlangen. Die Idee des privaten Schiedsgerichtsverfahrens war ursprünglich für Abkommen mit Ländern gedacht, die kein verlässliches Rechtssystem haben. Es findet in einem Abkommen zwischen vergleichbaren Partnern keine Berechtigung und stellt einen einschneidenden Eingriff in die Souveränität des nationalen Gesetzgebers dar. Diese Verfahren sind vertraulich und erregen durch ihre fehlende Transparenz allgemeines Misstrauen. Die amerikanische Seite hat eine derartige Verpflichtung bereits im Kanadisch-Amerikanischen Handels- und Investitionsabkommen vereinbart und hat als größter internationaler Investor an dieser Regelung erklärlicherweise ein überragendes Interesse. Eine Lösung dieses Problems kann entweder in der Herausnahme aus dem Verhandlungspaket liegen oder in einem völlig veränderten Verfahrenssystems, das transparent und rechtsstaatlich abgesichert ist und die staatliche Souveränität nicht verletzt.
Der Regelungsbedarf in den kommenden Verhandlungen ist groß. Nicht in jedem Punkt kann Einigkeit erzielt werden. Die Frage ist, wie weit reicht der politische Wille und wo endet die gesellschaftliche Akzeptanz. Die zunehmend kritische Grundstimmung gegenüber Amerika in weiten Bevölkerungsschichten gibt Anlass zur Sorge. Die Unterschriftensammlungen in Deutschland gegen das Abkommen stimmen bedenklich. Der Ärger bei uns angesichts der amerikanischen Datenausspähung durch die NSA darf die Verhandlungen nicht behindern. Man sollte versuchen Grundsätze zum Datenschutz in das Abkommen aufzunehmen, dürfte hier aber an den Amerikanern scheitern. Politik muss sich an Interessen ausrichten und nicht an Emotionen.
In den übrigen EU-Mitgliedstaaten stoßen die Verhandlungen ebenfalls auf Kritik in den Bevölkerungen. Ein Lieblingsthema der Franzosen war und ist die Sorge vor kultureller Überfremdung durch die USA – ein Thema, das auch bei uns zunehmend virulent wird. Man denke nur an das Vordringen Amazons auf den deutschen und europäischen Büchermarkt und unser verzweifeltes Festhalten an der Buchpreisbindung.
Europa und insbesondere Deutschland haben in der Vergangenheit immer regionalen Abkommen den Vorzug vor bilateralen gegeben. Seit es in der Doha-Runde der WTO kaum noch Fortschritte gibt, folgt die EU dem amerikanischen Vorbild und verhandelt bilaterale Abkommen. Das sollte aber nicht das Ende der Doha-Runde sein. Die WTO bleibt auch in der Zukunft eine unersetzbare weltumspannende Organisation und sollte die einzelnen Verhandlungsprozesse begleiten und überwachen. TTIP muss offen bleiben für weitere zukünftige Mitglieder und darf keine neuen Zollschranken errichten. Gerade China und die anderen BRIC-Staaten dürfen nicht durch Ausgrenzungen zu Gegenmaßnahmen provoziert werden. Auch für sie sollte die Meistbegünstigungsklausel gelten und das Angebot zu einem späteren Beitritt.
Die TTIP-Verhandlungen werden einige Zeit in Anspruch nehmen. Die neue Kommission ist noch nicht im Amt. Erst sie kann die Verhandlungen fortsetzen. Akzeptanzprobleme gibt es nicht nur unter europäischen Bürgern, sondern auch in den USA, wo besonders die Gewerkschaften und damit auch viele demokratische Abgeordnete und Senatoren wenig Begeisterung zeigen. Für Präsident Obama wird es eine „uphill battle“ in seiner eigenen Partei werden. Ihm ist es nicht gelungen, vom Kongress die generelle Vollmacht zum Abschluss von Handelsverträgen (Fast Track) zu erhalten. Vor den Novemberwahlen wird dies auch nicht mehr geschehen und danach nur mit Hilfe der Republikaner, die traditionell stärker am Freihandel interessiert sind als die Demokraten. Ohne diese Vollmacht, die es dem Kongress nur erlauben würde, das ausgehandelte Paket insgesamt zu billigen oder abzulehnen, kann es auch auf europäischer Seite keine Zustimmung geben. Anderenfalls besteht das Risiko, dass das ganze Abkommen im parlamentarischen Verfahren in Washington in seine Einzelheiten zerlegt wird und der Prozess von vorne beginnt.
Wie die Parlamente am Ende entscheiden werden, ist nicht vorhersehbar. Im Europäischen Parlament gibt es erhebliche Widerstände. Um das Transatlantische Freihandels- und Investitionsabkommen zu verhandeln und über die parlamentarischen Hürden zu bringen, bedarf es eines starken politischen Willens und entschiedener Führung. Die Verhandlungsmacht der EU sollte nicht unterschätzt werden. Das Interesse der USA an diesem Abkommen ist mindestens so hoch wie das Europas.
Neben seiner wirtschaftlichen Bedeutung hat das geplante Handelsabkommen für das zukünftige transatlantische Verhältnis große Bedeutung. Die Spannungen in der Welt nehmen zu. Der Konflikt in der Ukraine, das zunehmend belastete Verhältnis zu Russland, China als sich entwickelnde Großmacht, Energie und Umwelt: diese sind Themen die Europa und die USA miteinander verbinden. Das Transatlantische Freihandels- und Investitionsabkommen könnte den transatlantischen Beziehungen eine neue Struktur geben. Hierzu bedarf es einer großen Kraftanstrengung auf beiden Seiten.
Kolumne von Juergen Chrobog
November 2014
Die USA nach den Kongr