Deloitte optimistic about President Obama

Deloitte public sector leaders around the world are feeling the optimism of Governments and businesses towards the new U.S. administration led by President Obama.

According to Opportunity and Optimism: Global Perspectives on Obama and his Agenda, a paper published recently by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Mr. Obama and his team can promote an environment for businesses and markets to expand once again.

The Deloitte public sector leaders interviewed for the point of view think that Mr. 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.

Alternative energy opportunities

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 Mr. Pellegrino.

According to the point of view, 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.

Mr. 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.

Healthcare opportunities

Mr. 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.

The Deloitte public sector leaders 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.

Infrastructure opportunities

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 Mr. 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.

Finally, the use of public-private partnerships, especially in Europe and the UK, could also offer lessons to the United States as it embarks on its major infrastructure spending.

Manufacturing, exporting countries and trade

Even if Deloitte leaders do express some concern over market distortion as a result of the stimulus packages announced by Mr. Obama to improve the housing and automotive markets, they agree that Mr. 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 Mr. Pellegrino.

Canada, for example, which has a large forestry sector, is greatly expecting any boost to the U.S. housing market.

‘Our leaders agree that Obama will foster international cooperation to stimulate trade despite fears over renegotiated treaties, trade barriers, preferential treatment for U.S companies, and a reduced reliance on imported resources such as oil,’ said Mr. Pellegrino.

‘This will allow greater access to markets and business opportunities (Germany/Russia/United States, Middle East, Japan/China) by emphasizing diplomacy and help ease tensions between countries.’

Mr. Obama will be more open to outside ideas and best practices

The Deloitte leaders interviewed generally perceive Mr. Obama as receptive to advice, including that from other countries. And there are many areas in the Mr. 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,’ said Mr. Pellegrino.

‘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.’