by PAC Communications Intern Montagu James
The Three Seas Initiative (3SI), a forum created in 2016 by 12 Eastern and Central European nations in an effort to strengthen the economic and political ties between the respective countries, not only plays an important role in European diplomacy but also provides ample investments and support for American businesses. The 3SI has a global impact because it promotes important multinational projects in three categories: energy, transportation, and digital. These infrastructure and energy projects, in particular ones that compete and create alternatives to the Russian gas industry, which holds a near monopoly on the European supply, can benefit American businesses in a multitude of ways. In addition to energy related projects, the transportation and digital projects will connect the 3SI member nations.
The United States has long been interested in the Three Seas Initiative. President Donald Trump attended the 2017 Three Seas Initiative Summit and Secretary of Energy Rick Perry traveled to Bucharest for the 2018 edition. One large reason for the United States’ government’s interest in the Initiative is the effort in creating a new gas pipeline corridor through several proposed energy projects. Currently, Russia holds a near monopoly on the gas supply, and the new projects from the 3SI would create competition, allowing other countries to have a choice. The Nord Stream 2 pipeline between Germany and Russia is under construction, and the 12 members of the 3SI intend to create an alternative route for the European gas supply that would not involve Russia. Another reason in addition to American and European concern over Kremlin’s control of the European gas supply, is that, according to a June 2019 article from Deutsche Welle, “the US sees eastern Europe as a potential market for its own liquefied gas.” The construction of Baltic Pipe in Denmark and Poland and other energy projects provides investment opportunities for American businesses as a new gas supply in Europe increases positive economic competition and creates jobs for the countries involved.
In addition to the important energy projects, the digital and transportation efforts provide ample foreign investment opportunities. Transportation projects, such as the one proposed by the Republic of Lithuania, Rail Baltica, would not only strengthen economic ties between 3SI countries but also open up a wide range of new investment opportunities due to the improved efficiency of rail transport. Projects like Rail Baltica would improve the rail infrastructure between Poland, the Baltic states, and the rest of Europe, allowing a faster and more efficient transportation of goods across the continent. Digital projects like the “SmartCity Forum” that would “accelerate investment and the rate of innovation in European cities” or the Polish-backed 3SI Marketplace, whose goal is to enhance trade and investment among the 3SI members by hastening the scaling up process of SMEs in need of investment, enhancing capital flows, and enabling a transparent privatization process, are all opportunities for international support and investment. In all, each of the three project categories from the Three Seas Initiative provide a variety of options for global businesses to invest and cooperate with Eastern and Central European nations.
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