Current portal location

Website content

News archive

Trade | Brussels, 28 November 2011

EU Trade Commissioner De Gucht in Washington for Summit and high level meetings

EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht participates at the EU-US Summit in Washington DC on Monday 28 November. He will represent the EU alongside with the President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and High Representative Catherine Ashton. The United States will be represented by President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other representatives of the US administration.

The main focus of the summit will be the global economic situation. Leaders are expected to discuss the EU and US responses to the crisis and how to support growth and job creation. They will also debate on global challenges such as climate change and energy and development cooperation. A range of foreign policy issues, including the Arab Spring, Iran, Syria, the Middle East Peace Process and Afghanistan, as well as the EU’s Eastern neighbourhood will also be addressed.

On 29 November 2011, Commissioner De Gucht will co-chair the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) in Washington along with US Deputy National Security Advisor Michael Froman. The European side will also be represented by Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger, Taxation and Customs Commissioner Algirdas Semeta and senior officials from a range of services and departments. On the agenda will be cooperation on electric vehicle and smart grid research and development, the area of nanotechnology and raw materials.


The TEC was set up in 2007 to guide and stimulate transatlantic economic convergence. It is currently co-chaired by Commissioner De Gucht and US Deputy National Security Adviser 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 last EU-U.S. 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. Investments are thus the real driver of the transatlantic relationship, contributing to growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic.

For further information: