Worth checking out the webiste. I had the opportunity to attend this conference and just got my copy fo the conference proceedings. It happened at an interesting time: just before the vote in France on the constitution. Good dialogue:
The Falling Dollar: A Silver Lining for Pittsburgh
By Barry Balmat and Keith Crane
This commentary appeared in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on May 8, 2005.
With the dollar falling, inflation accelerating, interest rates rising and growth slowing, the U.S. economy is in the midst of what could be a painful economic adjustment, triggered by historically high trade and budget deficits. But there is a silver lining in this cloud because corporations in Pittsburgh and around the United States can benefit from a more competitive dollar.
The good news about the falling value of the dollar is that it is creating a rising demand for U.S. exports. Over the past 24 months, U.S. manufacturers have had a respite from hammering by foreign competition, especially European manufacturers of machinery and equipment.
Manufacturing costs are still under control, and with an ample supply of high quality products U.S. exporters have regained ground against European competitors. Such Pittsburgh-based corporations as U.S. Steel and Alcoa are already benefiting from the more competitive dollar.
American steel exports have risen by 49 percent in the past year. However, there is still a long way to go. U.S. exports would have to rise by $620 billion — or by more than half — to close the trade gap. Traditional Pittsburgh products and services will play a role in restoring balance.
While in the past the dollar was king, the new European currency called the euro is beginning to play the role of upstart prince. In the future, contracts, trade credits and invoices are as likely to be denominated in euros as dollars. Although U.S. exporters are benefiting from the decline of the dollar, they will also need to adapt to the new global role of the euro in business and trade.
A number of leading U.S. corporations have already adjusted their accounting, financial management and European operations to adapt to the expanding role of the euro. Successful strategies will be discussed at a conference sponsored by the Rand Corp. and the European Commission of the European Union, "Doing Business with the Euro," in Pittsburgh on May 18. (See www.rand.org/events/doing_business_with_the_euro.html for details).
Speakers will include former U.S. Treasury Secretary and Alcoa Chairman Paul O'Neill, PNC Financial Services Group Chairman and CEO James Rohr, Rand Corp. President and CEO James Thomson, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Vice President Gary Litman, Bayer Corp. President and CEO Atilla Molnar, and Allegheny Technologies President and CEO L. Patrick Hassey. European speakers include European Commission Ambassador John Bruton, European Commission Minister of Financial Affairs Herve Carre, and Representative of the European Central Bank to the International Monetary Fund J. Onno de Beaufort Wijnholds.
The conference will focus on how corporations and financial institutions in the Pittsburgh region and throughout the United States can boost exports and profits by taking advantage of opportunities created by the falling value of the dollar compared with the rising euro.