Business associations move to deepen transatlantic co-operation

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BusinessEurope Secretary-General Philippe de Buck met US Chamber of Commerce Vice-President Europe and Eurasia Gary Litman on 4 September in Brussels, to discuss the next moves towards the creation of a barrier-free transatlantic market.

BusinessEurope Secretary-General Philippe de Buck confirmed that the next concrete measure, agreed at the 4 September meeting, will be a round table on the framework for advancing transatlantic economic integration on 2 October. The event will be organised in partnership with the Transatlantic Business Dialogue, the American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union, the Transatlantic Policy Network and the European American Business Council

Expected attendees will include DG Enterprise Director John Farnell (responsible for the Transatlantic Economic Council in the Commission), a US Government representative (tbc) amd MEPs Elmar Brok (EPP-EDGroup/CDU) and Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe).

According to a BusinessEurope spokesman: “The goal is to assess progress to date with this initiative and provide a boost to ensure the long-term viability of the process. The aim of the meeting is to present the transatlantic business community’s priorities for the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), assess its progress to date, and discuss the business community’s expectations for the TEC meeting scheduled in November.”

Christian Democrat MEP Elmar Brok, due to attend the round table on 2 October, said the aim is "to remove all existing barriers to trade by 2015 and foster a greater political understanding as part of the new transatlantic agenda".

A spokesman for the Commission's Transport Economic Council told EURACTIV: "It is well known that the transatlantic market is the world's largest, deepest and most integrated economic space – and has been for 100 years. Yet its success masks fundamental weaknesses in the areas of non-tariff barriers and regulatory alignment. As the overall market grows, the costs of these inherent inefficiencies grow as well – preventing the creation of an estimated one million new jobs and GDP gains per capita in the EU and United States of up to 3.5%."

The BusinessEurope initiative follows efforts by the German EU Presidency and Transatlantic Policy Network (TPN) MEPs in the first half of 2007 to promote the establishment of a transatlantic market by 2015 - free of barriers to trade and investment between the EU and the US - and to develop a common approach to regulatory policy, competition law and capital markets, in order to generate economic growth (EURACTIV 12/01/07).

At the time, German Chancellor and then EU president Angela Merkel expressed support for applying the single market to a transatlantic level and reinforcing EU-US co-operation, while BusinessEurope (formerly UNICE) Secretary-General Philippe de Buck urged that "the next months be used to conclude or launch negotiations on a framework agreement".

  • 2 Oct.:  BusinessEurope round table in Brussels to gather participants from EU and US governments and legislatures, along with broad range of businesses interested in transatlantic issues.

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