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Ask the Ambassador: U.S. and EU Trade Relations

We recently received a question about the future of U.S.-EU trade relations. Cornelius from Kansas writes:

"How does the new administration see the prospects of promoting trade between the U.S. and the EU through the Transatlantic Economic Council?"

Ambassador Kirk responds:

"Thanks for the question, Cornelius. The U.S. economic relationship with the 27 member countries of the EU is the largest and most complex economic relationship in the world. It is a critical pillar of economic well-being for both partners.

The figures tell the story quite clearly. Transatlantic trade and investment flows between the United States and the EU now average about $2.7 billion in value each day, and support 14 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. State economies all across the country rely on this relationship, and 40 states have seen an increase in exports to the EU within the last year.

In 2008, companies like Insect-O-Cutor in Stone Mountain, Georgia, made nearly 15 percent of their sales of insect control equipment to customers in Europe, contributing to the state's nearly $8 billion in exports. In Tucson, Arizona, AGM Container Controls' managed to quintuple sales of their manufacturing products by exporting their breather valves, humidity indicators, and others goods to the German market. And 50 percent of the sales of biotechnological products from Daedalus Innovations, based in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, come from consumers in European countries.

This enormous volume of trade and investment promotes economic prosperity not only in the United States and Europe, but also in the dozens of other countries that trade with us.

Over the past decade, we have increasingly focused our trade policy discussions with the EU on the ways differences in the regulation of our domestic economies can pose obstacles to greater transatlantic economic integration. The impact of regulation on trade has been and will continue to be a principal focus of the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC).

The TEC - a cabinet level forum - has met four times since it was established in 2007, with the goal of strengthening transatlantic economic integration to improve our competitiveness and the lives of our people. Cooperation in the TEC has focused on a broad range of issues, including efforts to limit unnecessary regulatory divergence and to promote innovation and emerging technologies, investment, and the protection of intellectual property rights. The TEC also has facilitated closer cooperation between U.S. and EU legislators and stakeholders.

I look forward to working with my counterparts from other U.S. government agencies to make the TEC a success. Making regulatory approaches more compatible can be difficult, but success in some sectors could yield major benefits in terms of increased trade, productivity, and growth."

Thank you for continuing our dialogue on trade. Please keep submitting your questions and comments for the Ambassador.