WASHINGTON - The United States and the European Commission today announced that they have developed guidelines designed to promote more effective US-EU regulatory cooperation and better access to their respective regulatory development proceedings.
EU Commissioner for Enterprise and the Information Society Erkki Liikanen, United States Trade Representative Robert B. Zoellick, EU Trade Commissioner Pascal Lamy, and U.S. Commerce Secretary Don Evans welcomed the Guidelines as an important mechanism for promoting a more positive US-EU trade agenda. Under negotiation since late 1999, the completion of the "Guidelines on Regulatory Cooperation and Transparency" has been a priority initiative for the United States, the European Commission, and transatlantic stakeholders.
"The EU and U.S. are each other's largest trading partners. Cooperation between our regulators is therefore of particular importance," said Commissioner Liikanen. "Increased cooperation will enable regulators to better discharge their public responsibility for health, safety, the environment, and consumer protection. In addition, it will facilitate trade in goods and minimize trade frictions." Commissioner Lamy added, "I welcome what is an important step in ensuring transatlantic trade is made as easy as possible by responding to calls from business and consumer groups to involve them further in the regulatory process."
"Closer cooperation between U.S. and European regulators is increasingly important for the transatlantic marketplace," said Ambassador Zoellick. "These Guidelines will help promote better US-EU cooperation, while also addressing our fundamental interest in promoting transparency and public participation in regulatory proceedings."
Zoellick, Evans, Liikanen, and Lamy further noted their appreciation for the contributions which business and consumer groups, including the Transatlantic Business Dialogue and Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, made to this US-EU initiative.
"These Guidelines constitute a major victory for transatlantic stakeholders and will have a positive impact on market access. We will be promoting the use of these Guidelines, and the benefits they can yield for transatlantic trade," said Secretary Evans.
The Guidelines were negotiated under the Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP), a US-EU trade initiative launched in 1998 to expand cooperation on transatlantic trade issues.
The TEP Guidelines are non-binding, voluntary principles, intended to promote a more systematic dialogue between U.S. Government and European Commission regulators early in the development of regulatory approaches. The Guidelines also stress transparency and public participation as necessary elements to promote more effective regulatory cooperation, better quality regulation, and to help minimize possible regulatory-based trade disputes.
The Guidelines outline specific cooperative steps that U.S. and European regulators are encouraged to follow in bilateral dialogues, including early and regular consultations, data and information exchanges, and sharing of contemplated regulatory approaches. Key transparency elements reflected in the Guidelines are public announcements of draft regulations, meaningful opportunity for all interested parties to comment, and an explanation of how comments were considered in the regulation.
The United States and European Commission are working now to identify initial projects to pursue under the Guidelines.
Click here to access the Guidelines from USTR.