European Commission - Press release
EU and US boost economic partnership
Brussels, 29 November 2011 - The European Union and the United States today strengthened transatlantic economic ties through a number of new initiatives. At the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), senior EU and US leaders agreed to facilitate their customs procedures, to strengthen their cooperation on electric vehicle and smart grid research and in the fields of new technologies, such as cloud computing, and raw materials. The leaders also discussed a number of strategic economic questions, in particular transatlantic economic cooperation in the Southern Mediterranean and in emerging economies. Furthermore, the EU-US Summit yesterday tasked the TEC to establish a new High-Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth to identify options to further enhance EU-US economic relations.
The Transatlantic Economic Council was co- chaired by EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht and US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman. The European side was represented by Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, Taxation and Customs Commissioner Algirdas Šemeta and senior officials from a range of services and departments. The US side was represented by United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Commerce Secretary John Bryson as well as a number of heads of agencies, including the head of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) Cass Sunstein and Margaret Hamburg, head of the US Food and Drug Administration.
Participants reaffirmed the TEC's core objective to build a more closely integrated transatlantic marketplace, by strengthening trade and investment links. The TEC reviewed progress in creating new opportunities for jobs and growth through cooperation on regulation and innovation in key sectors.
The EU and US decided to develop joint approaches in a range of economic areas:
The TEC was set up in 2007 to guide and stimulate transatlantic economic convergence. It is currently co-chaired by Commissioner Karel De Gucht and US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, Michael Froman. The regulatory work of the TEC focuses on economically relevant issues of mutual interest, in order to identify issues where EU-US cooperation could produce results in a reasonable time horizon and to engage in a strategic discussion on selected global economic issues.
The TEC is currently the only EU-US high-level forum in which economic issues can be discussed in a coherent and coordinated manner. It brings together a wide range of ongoing economic cooperation activities and is a platform which can give political guidance and direction. At the same time, the TEC is a political forum where participants can explore joint approaches to strategic global economic questions.
At the EU-US Summit in Lisbon in November 2010, leaders tasked the Transatlantic Economic Council to strengthen transatlantic economic ties by promoting innovation, streamlining regulations and eliminating barriers to trade and investment. Leaders particularly underlined the central role of the TEC in generating new opportunities for jobs and growth, particularly in key emerging sectors and technologies, as well as its strategic role in strengthening our economies for the competitive challenges of the future. Based on this mandate, the TEC put in place a new approach, focussing the work on a forward-looking result-oriented regulatory cooperation agenda and a strengthened cooperation on strategic global economic questions.
The last meeting of the TEC was held in December 2010.
Trade and investment relations
The European Union and the United States have the largest bilateral trade relationship in the world. The EU and the US economies account together for about half the entire world GDP and for nearly a third of world trade flows.
For goods and services, we are mutually our biggest trading partners, with 16% of total EU trade being done with the US, and 20 % of total US trade being done with the EU. This amounts to a total annual trade of goods and services of €667 billion, or €1.8 billion per day.
Latest trends in goods trade for the first three quarters of 2011 are largely positive, with more than 20% increase in the first quarter on a year-on-year basis. The third quarter showed a quasi-stagnation of EU imports (+0.6%) and a contraction of EU exports to the US (-2.1%).
The strength of EU-US relations can also be illustrated with approximately 15 million jobs linked to the transatlantic economy.
The EU and the US enjoy the most integrated economic relationship in the world, illustrated by unrivalled levels of mutual investment stocks, reaching over €2.1 trillion. Total US investment in the EU is three times higher than in all of Asia and EU investment in the US is around eight times the amount of EU investment in India and China together.
For further information:
On EU trade relations with US:
On EU-US Summit, 28 November 2011: IP/11/1457
Last Transatlantic Economic Council, 18 December 2010: Factsheet
EU - U.S. Transatlantic Economic Council: Joint Statement, 29 November 2011, Washington D.C.