Tuesday, July 16, 2013

US Trade Official Applauds EU Commitment to Trade Liberalization, Raises some Issues of Concern to the US

Today Michael Punke, Deputy United States Trade Representative, spoke in Geneva at the eleventh review of the trade policies and practices of the European Union ("EU"). The occasion was especially well-timed, given the recent conclusion of the first round of negotiations of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement ("TTIP").

Trade between the US and the EU accounts for nearly half of global GDP and 30 percent of global trade. Every day, goods and services worth nearly $3 billion are traded across the Atlantic. Our investment relationship reached nearly $4 trillion in 2011. More than $9 million is traded between us every five minutes.

While acknowledging the EU's "strong support, over many decades, for a rules-based multilateral trading system and for the steady reduction of barriers in successive rounds of multilateral trade negotiations," Ambassador Punke raised several points of US concern regarding EU policies and practices:

  1. tariff and non-tariff barriers in agriculture and fishing,

  2. non-tariff barriers in the form of technical regulations and standards, particularly as relating to chemicals and wine,

  3. the EU's regulatory and legislative processes, which, Ambassador Punke stated "do not typically provide essential and meaningful opportunity for WTO Members and their stakeholders to comment on regulatory proposals,"

  4. significant procedural and methodological issues relating to the EU imposition of antidumping duties, and

  5. "inconsistent implementation of internal market rules [which] continues to constrain trade for EU and foreign producers alike.
The full text of Ambassasor Punke's statement is available on the USTR website here

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