U.S. and European negotiators have been meeting this week in the third round of Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) talks. The United States and the European Union (EU) already have the world’s largest commercial relationship, accounting for nearly half of global economic output. Despite these robust commercial ties, manufacturers see tremendous opportunities to strengthen further the U.S.-EU economic relationship.
The T-TIP agreement has the potential to boost economic growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic, and to demonstrate the strong leadership of the United States and the EU to the rest of the world. Manufacturers have a number of priorities in these negotiations. During today’s T-TIP stakeholder event, I discussed a few key areas of importance to manufacturers: regulatory cooperation, investment, customs & trade facilitation, cross-border data flows, and privacy issues.
Among the NAM’s primary objectives regarding regulatory issues are to strengthen transparency and public participation in the process of developing rules and regulations, as well as remove unnecessary regulatory barriers to trade and prevent future divergence between EU and U.S. regulations, where appropriate. Regulatory barriers not only limit market access, but also substantially increase costs for both U.S. and EU manufacturers, undermining their global competitiveness. We urge negotiators to work with specific industry sectors to identify areas where greater cooperation is possible, and emphasize that work to eliminate unnecessary regulatory divergences and prevent future divergences must be demand-driven.
While the United States and EU already share a vibrant cross-border investment relationship, the NAM also places a high priority on continuing to promote strong cross-border investment through the adoption of strong and enforceable rules in the T-TIP. Such rules reflect core rule of law principles found both in the U.S. and EU and should also set a strong precedent for negotiations with third countries.
Manufacturers also strongly believe that the T-TIP agreement should reduce the cost of business operations and processing through improved customs and trade facilitation provisions. The agreement should include a robust de minimis level to enhance opportunities for small and medium sized companies and incorporate other rules to enhance trade flows and reduce red tape.
In addition, the T-TIP should ensure that cross border data flows are permitted while also safeguarding IP rights, and to prohibit localization requirements to use local information infrastructure to conduct business. Manufacturers are increasingly using digital platforms to reach new customers and to produce more efficiently around the world. The T-TIP needs to incorporate rules that promote opportunities in an increasingly digital economy.
A growth-producing U.S.-EU agreement will enhance efficiency for manufacturers, and will not impose rules or standards that would undermine innovation and thwart economic growth. The need for a meaningful transatlantic trade agreement has never been greater and the NAM strongly urges negotiators to take full advantage of the momentum that has been created over the last two years, to produce an agreement with the strongest economic outcomes possible.
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