Deloitte public sector leaders around the world are feeling the optimism of Governments and businesses towards the new U.S. administration led by President-elect Obama.
According to the point of view “Opportunity and Optimism. Global perspectives on Obama and his agenda” published today by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Obama and his team can promote an environment for businesses and markets to expand again.
According to Deloitte representatives, Obama’s agenda could create opportunities for countries with exporting and manufacturing industries, including automotive; strong experience in alternative energy and infrastructure projects; and strong sectors in pharmaceutical, medical devices, and health insurance as well as tourism.
“Deloitte public sector member firm leaders are hopeful about Obama’s specific proposals to rebuild confidence for business around the world because it expects to put people back to work, foster international cooperation, recommit the U.S. to solving global warming, and promote healthcare reform,” said Greg Pellegrino, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Global Public Sector leader, and author of the point of view.
“International markets have traditionally set their watches after the American beat and I believe it’s only fair to assume that they will eventually set the tone of the international revival,” said George Mucibabici, Deloitte Romania Chairman and Public Sector leader in this country. “Although the new leadership in Washington will mainly focus on the more urgent, local problems in the beginning, decisions will sooner or later have an international echo. Without a doubt, Romania will see the benefits of a more opened America through the consolidation of mutual commercial relationships and new investments.”
Opportunities for alternative energy
Among the countries that Deloitte public sector leaders identified as beneficiaries are the ones that have experience in alternative energy. “Those that can hit the ground running when the Obama administration implements its green initiatives will benefit most,” said Pellegrino.
There should be significant opportunities for those countries with highly developed solar and wind sectors as well as research capabilities, such as Germany, Japan, and Spain; for nuclear technology and expertise imports from countries such as France.
Germany is one of the largest wind power producers in the world and its large solar industry employs more than 40,000 people. Japanese companies are estimated to use half as much energy per dollar of economic activity as the United States due to its use of alternative energies, while Spain is home to some of the world’s largest alternative energy companies, with its wind power industry growing at a 30 percent rate per year.
Obama’s support of clean coal technology will also help the developing countries dependent on coal like India and China, said the Deloitte public sectors leaders, creating an opportunity for research partnerships between the United States and others, and helping them grow their economies protecting the environment.
Opportunities in healthcare segment
Obama’s plan to reform healthcare also provides a unique opportunity to foreign companies, say many Deloitte public sector leaders. According to them, allowing quality, cheaper drugs imports from around the world will give the opportunity to countries like India-known for its generic drugs- to participate in a market they were mostly shut out of in the past.
The large European pharmaceutical firms may be able to market their drugs in the United States, especially if there is increased cooperation between the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the European Union, suggests the point of view. Companies in Germany and Japan, producers of medical devices, and firms in India and Germany, which have strong medical IT experience, could be also beneficiaries.
Deloitte representatives also see potential for the Indian medical tourism market, which can provide cheaper healthcare. Similarly, as the delivery of insurance is reconfigured and expanded, UK insurance companies could be looking for areas in which to deliver products more cost-effectively with a broader reach to the U.S. market.
Opportunities in infrastructure
Countries with a proven track record of delivering large infrastructure projects and with a market in the U.S. could have opportunities worth pursuing, says the point of view. This also applies to countries with strong experience in technology infrastructure and countries with a U.S. border. The document mentions roads, bridges, ports, and technology infrastructure, as well as the Netherlands, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, and Canada as beneficiaries.
“Deloitte public sector leaders think that even if American stimulus is expected to target the U.S., there is a strong feeling that an infrastructure plan of this enormity will draw on domestic and foreign players. This is especially true in light of Obama’s commitment to promote cost-efficiency,” said Pellegrino.
This opportunity may be even greater for those countries with strong experience in technology. Spain, for example, could be a beneficiary with its strong record in mobile and fixed networks.
Manufacturing, export and trade
Even if Deloitte leaders do express some concern over market distortion as a result of the stimulus packages announced by Obama to improve the housing and automotive markets, they agree that Obama’s efforts to rebuild confidence in the global economy will have a positive effect on the financial services, housing sector, and on the exporting and manufacturing countries -especially automotive- around the world.
“As noted by Deloitte leaders from Germany, Japan, China, Mexico, Brazil, Canada, and South Korea, the stimulus package will mean more U.S. spending on imported products and a rebound in the U.S. market. And any uptick in U.S. purchasing power is good news, and it can also boost tourism and international investment,” said Pellegrino. Canada, for example, which has a large forestry sector, is greatly expecting any boost to the U.S. housing market.
Obama will be more open to ideas and best practices
The Deloitte leaders interviewed generally perceive Obama as receptive to advice, including that from other countries. And there are many areas in the Obama agenda where the experience of other countries can be gleaned for ideas and best practices, including healthcare, the green economy, and infrastructure management.
“In our conversations with Deloitte public sector leaders, a general feeling of hopefulness was apparent despite some reservations about specific rhetoric espoused by the Obama team. And if businesses keep an open mind and a sharp eye for the prospects afforded by this administration, opportunity will not be far behind optimism,” concluded Pellegrino.
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