The EU-U.S. High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth is expected to release its final report before the end of this year, and the NAM hopes that it will make bold recommendations to the leaders of both economies on how we can remove both tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and increase the movement of goods and services across the Atlantic. The NAM has been a leading business advocate in urging the United States and EU to launch comprehensive free trade agreement negotiations aimed at fostering mutual economic benefits and job creation.
The United States and the EU already have the world’s largest commercial relationship but major opportunities for increased trade, investment and cooperation remain. A trade-liberalizing Transatlantic Partnership Agreement (TAP) could demonstrate the strong leadership of the United States and the EU to the rest of the world and put both our economies in a stronger position in the global marketplace.
A key objective for the NAM in a TAP negotiation is promoting regulatory cooperation and coordination in order to remove regulatory barriers to trade and reduce unnecessary divergence between EU and U.S. regulations. Such barriers not only limit market access on both sides of the Atlantic and limit consumer choice, they substantially increase costs for U.S. and EU manufacturers, undermining their global competitiveness. To address these barriers, it is vital that U.S. and EU negotiators seek to address both existing regulatory differences and the processes for developing new regulations. With respect to existing standards, a TAP agreement should harmonize or eliminate duplicative and redundant technical regulations, standards and conformity assessment procedures.
We recognize that the EU and the United States have attempted to address these issues previously and have encountered significant challenges. It is vital that we continue working together to identify ways of harmonizing standards, regulations and requirements in order to improve efficiency and remove barriers to trade. The benefits of an ambitious, commercially meaningful, and successful TAP negotiation would be substantial for manufacturers.
Jessica Lemos is director of international trade policy, National Association of Manufacturers.