Sebastian Mörth

Principal Government Affairs Austria & Switzerland Medtronic

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What does the USA mean for you personally?

American culture can be seen all over the world today: movies from Hollywood, hamburgers, and other fast food, daring clothes and shrill music. This culture is popular among many people. 

Many famous writers are or were Americans. In the USA, music has mixed and led to many musical styles. Jazz became especially famous. 

The USA is also an important country in the world in terms of science. This is also true to a large extent for space travel and the world of computers and digital world. Some universities in the USA are world famous. As a big American football and ice hockey fan, I also have a close connection to US sports. 

What does the USA mean for your company?

Very much naturally, as Medtronic is an American company and comes from the „Mecca“ of medical technology, Minneapolis in the state of Minnesota. The location in Austria is of high importance. 

How important are the relations between Austria and the USA?

From my point of view, a good and strong relationship between the two states is very important. Austria is considered a reliable partner in Central Europe and the economic data also shows that the partnership and relationship is traditionally strong and good. Of course, it must be our ambition to continue to work on building a bridge to the USA. 

How can the relationship between the two countries be improved and intensified?

There must be much more international exchange, at all levels. 

AmCham and the close exchange with the US Embassy naturally play a decisive role here, but we can all live this daily in our companies with a U.S. connection and additionally drive it forward. Personally, I am very proud to work for a U.S. company and to represent innovation in my home country. 

How can you/your company benefit more from bilateral trade?

The technological progress in healthcare is enormous (artificial intelligence, big data, robotics, to name just a few highlights). The globalized world will grow even closer together in some areas because of all these tools. Here, close exchange and cooperation between countries is especially important. AmCham can of course play an essential role here.  

The NFL exported to Europe some years ago, very successfully and the USA always produces highly successful winter athletes – the sporting exchange works brilliantly.

For me personally, a strong western world is crucial for stability in the upcoming years. Europe will have to emancipate itself, but the most important partner remains the USA. 

What is Austria better at?

Austria is better at their training courses in the field of skilled workers and teaching as well as offering a university education without having to experience high-level debt.

What is the USA better at?

The density of technological companies and especially how quickly they can enter the market is indeed a great asset of the U.S. We have a lot of catching up to do (also for financial reasons). There is less over-regulation, which makes it easier to start new companies (times of crisis are always times of start-ups). 

And of course in Ice Hockey and American Football – this is a different universe.

What can we learn from each other?

Especially culturally, you can learn a lot from Austria (particularly culinary). We are a country of the capable and have a strong foundation. Of course, we must work on not driving it against the wall. 

What we can learn from the USA is the incredible entrepreneurial spirit. The speed at which companies in the USA can grow but also fail, is impressive.  

What has been the best AmCham experience so far?

I am generally a big fan of AmCham (by the way, also in Switzerland) and would like to contribute with a lot of commitment to expand this great chamber even further and to help shape essential topics. 

Our Empower Her engagement and my supported Summer End Event were my highlights so far.

What do you expect from AmCham?

A bridge-building and a strong effort of further intensification of cross-border cooperation as the potential is huge. An incredible number of bright minds, managers and (I would like to mention this explicitly) many great women who run US companies in Austria or hold responsible positions come together in the chamber of commerce. There are so many ideas and great projects lurking there. Let’s bundle this potential, further strengthen cooperation with all stakeholders and help shape the future.