Today USTR released the Interim Report to Leaders from the Co-Chairs from the EU-U.S. High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth. Manufacturers welcome this step forward and the findings in the report which reflects many of the recommendations laid out by the National Association of Manufacturers earlier this year. This is an important step on the way to initiating the negotiation of a free trade agreement between the EU and United States.
The United States and the EU already have the world’s largest commercial relationship but major opportunities for increased trade and cooperation remains. U.S. and EU leaders established the High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth in November 2011 to identify policies and measures that would lead to increased trade, investment, job growth and enhanced competitiveness.
U.S. and EU companies already enjoy low tariffs across the Atlantic, but the NAM supports total elimination of tariffs, and even more importantly, seeks continued progress towards eliminating non-tariff barriers (NTBs). Most NTBs come in the form of different standards, regulations, certification procedures, and conformity assessment procedures.
The majority of the U.S. business community is already operating in the EU and, in most cases, is closely aligned and can provide support for identifying and removing key NTBs which inhibit trade growth and hinder job creation on both sides of the Atlantic.
The NAM has long advocated for an EU-U.S. agreement that is robust and comprehensive. A Transatlantic Partnership (TAP) agreement should address tariffs, non-tariff barriers, services, investment, intellectual property, trade facilitation, and other factors that have characterized recent U.S. trade agreements. Ultimately, this agreement can define the real parameters of 21st century trade – incorporating barriers to global supply chains and worldwide investment.
The NAM strongly urges the Administration to move expeditiously to formally launch comprehensive and ambitious TAP negotiations before the end of 2012, to foster economic growth and job creation.
Jessica Lemos is director of international trade policy, National Association of Manufacturers.