United States Brussels, 26 March 2010
EU Trade Commissioner meets with United States Trade Representative
European Commissioner for Trade Karel De Gucht today met Ambassador Ron Kirk, United States Trade Representative, for the first time. The Commissioner highlighted his desire to continue the fruitful transatlantic cooperation on trade policy and emphasised the strategic importance of strengthening bilateral and multilateral cooperation. The EU and the United States together account for more than half of global GDP and are each other’s most important trading partner.
"In these difficult economic times, it is essential to deepen the transatlantic trade market to boost growth", said Commissioner De Gucht. "Together, we also have an opportunity to shape the challenges of globalisation. This is why I am keen to move the Doha Development Agenda forward. There is no better instrument to generate global benefits and to guard against protectionism."
The one-hour meeting was a first opportunity for both sides to lay the foundations for a productive bilateral cooperation. The discussions covered the full range of topics on the transatlantic trade agenda: from the multilateral trade negotiations, current bilateral trade issues and the Transatlantic Economic Council.
The EU and the US are each other's main trading partners. Trade flows across the Atlantic amount to around €1.9 billion every day, reaching approximately €700 billion annually. The two economies are interdependent to a high degree.
The transatlantic relationship also defines the shape of the global economy as a whole as either the EU or the US is also the largest trade and investment partner for almost all other countries in the global economy. EU-US stand together for about 53% of global GDP and 31% of international trade.
Total FDI stocks held in each others countries reach approximately €1.89 trillion. The overall "transatlantic workforce" is estimated at 12 to 14 million people, of which roughly half are Americans who owe their jobs directly or indirectly to EU companies.
A recent study conducted for the European Commission concludes that the GDP of the EU and US would increase by around 160 billion Euros and exports would grow by 2.1% and 6.1% respectively if half of the non-tariff measures and regulatory differences were removed.
The EU and the US cooperate on regulatory issues within the framework of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), which was set up in 2007. The TEC provides an additional, high level forum for giving technical processes a political push to accelerate progress in various areas, in particular regulatory cooperation, investment, intellectual property rights, innovation, secure trade and financial markets issues.
For further information
On the European Commission's study: "Non-Tariff Measures in EU-US Trade and Investment – An Economic Analysis"
View the pictures of the meeting