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U.S., EU Focus on Increasing Growth, Aiding Middle East

Tuesday, November 29, 2011
Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg Trade Report

At the conclusion of their annual summit Nov. 28, the U.S. and the European Union issued a joint statement outlining a wide range of issues on which they plan to continue cooperating, including economic and trade growth.

Economic Cooperation. Leaders welcomed progress made by the Transatlantic Economic Council on secure trade and supply chain security, electric vehicles and related infrastructure, regulatory practices, small and medium-sized enterprises, and information communications technology. They encouraged the TEC to increase cooperation in key sectors such as nanotechnology and raw materials and instructed the TEC to pursue its work on strategic economic questions, including investment, innovation policy and the protection of intellectual property rights in third countries.

New Working Group on Jobs and Growth. The TEC was also directed to establish a new joint High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth, which will be co-chaired by the U.S. trade representative and the European commissioner for trade. The working group will examine areas such as conventional barriers to trade in goods, including tariffs and tariff-rate quotas; the reduction, elimination or prevention of barriers to trade in goods, services and investment; opportunities for enhancing the compatibility of regulations and standards; the reduction, elimination or prevention of unnecessary non-tariff barriers to trade in all categories; and enhanced cooperation for the development of rules and principles on global issues of common concern and also for the achievement of shared economic goals relating to third countries. For each option it assesses the working group will take into consideration the short- and medium-term impact on economic growth, job creation and competitiveness; feasibility; and implications for, and consistency with, bilateral and multilateral trade obligations. The working group will also consider and recommend the practical means necessary to implement any policy measures identified, such as enhanced regulatory cooperation or the negotiation of one or more bilateral trade agreements. An interim report is expected next June and a final report is due by the end of 2012.

Middle East. To increase economic growth and integration in the Middle East and North Africa, the two trading partners will jointly promote best practices that support trade, investment and job creation and deepen intra-regional trade and integration. They also plan to work in partnership with international financial institutions to ensure robust donor coordination and in particular to ratify quickly necessary changes to the agreement establishing the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development to allow lending in the region.

Doha Round. The two sides again called for “fresh, credible approaches” to advance the Doha Round negotiations in 2012 and signaled that they anticipate progress on this issue at the December ministerial meeting in Geneva.

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