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 Home > News & Policies > December 2008

For Immediate Release
Office of the Press Secretary
December 12, 2008

Fact Sheet: Advancing Transatlantic Economic Integration Through the Transatlantic Economic Council

President Bush And His Administration Are Working To Unleash The Potential Of The Transatlantic Economy


The third meeting of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) was convened today in Washington, D.C., continuing the TEC’s work to remove barriers to transatlantic trade and investment and promote economic integration. 

  • During the course of the meeting, U.S. and EU officials discussed ongoing efforts to promote regulatory cooperation, eliminate barriers to transatlantic trade, advance capital market liberalization, and strengthen support for open investment regimes.  They also discussed responses to the global economic turmoil.  Among other accomplishments, the officials agreed to address U.S. concerns that the EU’s chemicals regulation be administered in a way that is transparent and non-discriminatory and affords legal certainty; continue efforts to remove barriers to the importation of U.S. poultry into Europe; enhance cooperation on cargo security; continue collaboration to address the safety of food and drugs and other imported products; and work to promote trade and investment liberalization bilaterally and globally.  The two delegations also met with Members of the United States Congress and European Parliament and officials from the Transatlantic Business and Transatlantic Consumers Dialogues. 

Transatlantic Economic Integration Is Strengthening Economic Relationships

The transatlantic market today accounts for nearly 55 percent of global gross domestic product.  Transatlantic economic relations are strong, but they can be made even stronger.  Both the United States and Europe believe in strong and effective regulation to protect our citizens and the environment.  However, in some cases, unnecessary differences in regulatory approaches make our companies less competitive, raise consumer costs, reduce consumer choice, and slow job creation. 

Independent organizations estimate that the TEC could bring enormous benefits to the transatlantic economy.  For example, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that achievement of existing TEC goals could generate billions of dollars in savings per year for the transatlantic economy.  The Center for Transatlantic Relations estimates that further integration could have an even more substantial payoff – the equivalent of giving every European and American an entire year’s extra salary over their working lifetimes. 

At its third meeting, the TEC:

  • Heard a report from the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum on its efforts to enhance mutual understanding of U.S. and EU approaches to the use of standards, impact analysis, and risk assessment in the development of regulations;
  • Received briefings on regulatory cooperation on import safety and on work toward an agreement on mutual assistance in the enforcement of laws to protect consumers on the Internet;
  • Discussed the need for additional action with respect to the application of the EU’s Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals regulation (REACH), given the trade impacts of the regulation across industry sectors;
  • Discussed options for a viable solution to the EU’s ban on imports of U.S. poultry;
  • Welcomed the U.S. Department of Labor’s request for information on a supplier’s declaration of conformity as an alternative to third-party certification of the safety of certain electrical goods for the U.S. workplace;
  • Agreed to continue working towards mutual recognition of U.S. and EU secure trade partnership programs to facilitate customs clearance for trusted traders;
  • Welcomed acceptance of the use of U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles and International Financial Reporting Standards in EU and U.S. financial markets;
  • Exchanged views on cooperation on cargo security;
  • Agreed to continue the work of the U.S.-EU Investment Dialogue, which welcomed the Generally Accepted Principles and Practices developed by the International Working Group of Sovereign Wealth Funds and the recipient country investment policy principles developed by the OECD, to promote trade and investment liberalization;
  • Discussed financial markets issues, including the importance of working together to develop global regulatory solutions, where feasible, rather than taking regional approaches to address global financial problems; and
  • Discussed working together to explore the possibility of adding an energy technologies and climate change component to the TEC agenda. 

The TEC also:

  • Agreed on principles to guide the future work of the TEC, such as giving priority to issues that are concrete (rather than abstract), that have been identified as priorities by businesses and consumers, where attention by the TEC can produce substantial economic benefits, and where technical experts have identified potential solutions; and
  • Agreed to prepare a medium-to-long-term work plan to enable stakeholders to track the progress of TEC projects.

The TEC was created in April 2007, under the Framework for Advancing Transatlantic Economic Integration signed by President Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso during the U.S.-EU Summit in Washington, DC.  The TEC met for the first time on November 9, 2007 in Washington, D.C.  The TEC’s second meeting was held on May 13, 2008, in Brussels.  Under the Framework, the TEC is charged with overseeing work to advance key priorities, including strengthening regulatory cooperation, capital markets integration, investment, innovation, intellectual property rights protection, and secure trade. 

The U.S. delegation, led by Assistant to the President for International Economic Affairs Daniel M. Price, included Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer, Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez, Health and Human Services Secretary Michael O. Leavitt, EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson, U.S. Trade Representative Susan C. Schwab, Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew C. von Eschenbach, Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Robert M. Kimmitt, Deputy Secretary of Labor Howard M. Radzely, Under Secretary of State Reuben Jeffery III, Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Christopher Cox and Commissioner Kathleen L. Casey, Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs Susan E. Dudley, Federal Trade Commission Chairman William E. Kovacic, and other senior Administration economic officials.  The European Union delegation, led by Günter Verheugen, Vice-President of the European Commission and Commissioner for Enterprise and Industry, included Commissioners Catherine Ashton, Charlie McCreevy, Meglena Kuneva, and László Kovács, as well as other senior Commission and European Union Presidency officials.

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