EU-US talks focus on trade barriers

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: European commission, European union, Us

Following on from the first ever meeting of the Transatlantic
Economic Council, EU and US officials say that renewed efforts over
trade barriers, security, accounting standards and labeling are
likely to be introduced for a host of industries, including
cosmetics.

The meeting, which took place on November 9 in Washington aimed to promote trade between the two economic powerhouses on a global basis, particularly in response to the fast-growing Asian economies. Co-chaired by Allan Hubbard, assistant to the US president for economic policy, and Günter Verheugen, vice-president of the European Commission, the board is advised by three transatlantic bodies representing legislation, consumers and business. Although the aim of the talks is to foster better transatlantic business relations for all industries, the talks did focus on specific long-standing issues for the cosmetics and toiletry industry, particularly regulation and labeling. On accounting standards, which can vary greatly between the US and Europe, often hampering trade, the talks concluded that the US Securities and Exchange Commission would soon accept results from EU companies that are prepared according to International Financial Reporting Standards. Likewise, the EU authorities confirmed that they are setting about implementing a mechanism that will lead to the acceptance of US GAAP accounting standards. With regards security, the talks confirmed that a road map has been established to reach mutual recognition by 2009 of EU and US trade partnership programs aimed at further facilitating trade. Likewise, on the subject of regulation, the talks centered on regulatory impact assessment, with the aim of measuring the impact of future regulations on trade and investment between the two powers. Likewise, with regards to labeling and cost associations, the European Commission stated that it had proposed legislation to allow the importation of products produced in the US and labeled both in English and metric. With more talks scheduled for next year, a statement from the TEC said that the first meeting had shown the sort of progress the body can make, adding that this was only the start of what was expected to be a long but fruitful process. Currently the US and the EU have by far the most successful trading relationship in the world, fostering trade that was valued at $675bn during the course of 2006.

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