Negotiation Summit

Negitiation Summit
As a consequence of the «America First» policy of the Trump Presidency and the rapidly increasing influence of China as a global investor, the traditionally strong ties between Europe and the U.S. are strained. How can we break the deadlock?

Led by Prof. Dr. Filip Abraham (faculty of course Economics of International Business) and Jochen Luksch (faculty of course Art of Communication – Negotiation), our current EMBA class 24 recently held a summit meeting in Thun. The summit was organized as a negotiation simulation and addressed two fundamental topics: the trade relationship between Europe and the U.S. and the response to Chinese global investment policy. The class formed four teams to represent Europe and the U.S. on two topics.

Prof. Dr. Filip Abraham provided an overview of the main aspects of international trade and investment relationships and Jochen Luksch introduced the key knowledge, skills and philosophy for successful win-win negotiations. Each team took up a triple challenge. First, each team delved into the topic it was working on. Second, it integrated its own views in a negotiating position for the country (Europe or the U.S.) it belonged to. Third, negotiations took place to see whether a comprehensive deal, partial deal or no deal could be reached.

On Friday evening, guest speaker Christian Etter, former Ambassador and Delegate for Trade Agreements of the Swiss Government, shared his insights on Swiss foreign economic policy with a focus on approaches and challenges in trade and investment relations between Switzerland and the U.S./EU/China.

Prof. Dr. Filip Abraham shared his key takeaways: 1) negotiations and trade relations are complex subjects. Good knowledge on the topic and negotiation skills are the recipe to success. 2) There was obviously an elephant in the negotiation simulation room – China, as the China-U.S. struggle for global leadership is just beginning in real life.

The EMBA class enjoyed the highly interactive format of the negotiation simulation and appreciated the joint effort from faculty of two courses.