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News, 8/6/2013

EACC is telling the story of Europe

European-American Chamber of Commerce focuses on connecting members with business opportunities on either side of the Atlantic. Yvonne Bendinger-Rothschild, Executive Director of the EACC in New York, is constantly working on promoting Europe as a valuable partner for US business and a region ripe with business opportunities.

“We bring together European and American businesses, and explain how to do business on the other side of the Atlantic.”

Explaining Europe

Yvonne Bendinger-Rothschild, Executive Director of the EACC in New YorkYvonne Bendinger-Rothschild, Executive Director of the EACC in New York

“A large part of what we do is to explain how Europe works. American companies that are looking for new markets are looking at the European market as a whole, they are not looking at weather to start it in Germany or in Finland. We need to bring forward Europe in general, and after that focus on the strengths of individual European countries.”

In practice, EACC actively facilitate one-on-one-relations; “We bring Americans into the room. In our events the attendance is 40% Europeans and 60% Americans.” The chamber also organizes educational programs around a variety of topics that are of interest to the community it serves. Other than in New York EACC has offices in Princeton and Cincinnati as well as Paris and Lyon.

EACC has origins in the French-American Chamber of Commerce, and was established in 2003. The membership is for corporations: world-wide there are 650, in the US 250 and in New York 100 members. The New York chapter was formed in 2008 and currently has a staff of four. “We like to think of us as dynamic, hands-on, and proactive in helping our members do more business with partners across the Atlantic.”

Finland works

According to Bendinger-Rothschild Finland may be a small country but as a member of the European Union it is part of the biggest business partners of the United States.
“What’s great is that Finland works! There is no corruption in Finland and the social system is predictable, there are no surprises. The geographical proximity to other markets very convenient and the country is more stable compared to some of its neighbors.”

Finns are considered to be well-educated and a dynamic high-quality workforce, so called go-getters. Bendinger-Rothschild advises Finnish companies to keep an open mind: “Think big. Learn by doing, involve yourself with the host country as well as with the Finnish community in the US.”

Acknowledging cultural differences

Entering the US market takes a serious commitment and persistency in addition to the willingness to invest money in the process. “Companies from all walks of life are welcomed in New York whether it is a startup looking for investors, investment banks looking for investment opportunities, larger companies looking to expand.”

Understanding the cultural differences is one of the keys to success in the US. “Both Europe and the US are obviously part of the same general value system but the way of doing business is very different. This often leads to confusion if for instance in negotiations a solution or an answer is not found right away. With that said, Americans are not as homogenous as people think.”
“As the barriers to enter the US market have diminished, smaller companies have become more interested in coming here. We actively promote Europe as a place of business for American companies as well as opening the US market to European companies."

There is still plenty of work to do in promoting Europe to the American companies: “We need to tell the success stories of European businesses, tell a positive and forward-looking story of Europe and how far we have come as a people and as a common market.” We have accomplished a lot and should continue on that track.

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Updated 8/6/2013

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