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European Union; United States: Joint Declaration Issued at Recent Summit

(Dec. 7, 2011) On November 28, 2011, during their annual summit, which was held in Washington, D.C., the leaders of the European Union and the United States met at the White House and issued a joint declaration. Both partners expressed their wish and commitment to explore new ways to improve their transatlantic relationship, generate new opportunities for investment, and increase prosperity and security for their combined 800 million citizens. They also recognized the significant role of the EU-U.S. Energy Council in improving cooperation in energy security in renewable and other clean energy technologies and in policies facilitating trade in such technologies. (Press Release, EU-U.S. Summit Joint Statement (Nov. 28, 2011), EUROPA.)

The two partners requested that the Economic Transatlantic Council – which was established in 2007 to improve transatlantic economic integration – create a High-Level Working Group (HLWG) on Jobs and Growth. The HLWG has a two-fold mandate: (1) to identify new measures to increase and policies designed to improve EU-U.S. trade and investment, in order increase job creation and economic growth; and (2) to collaborate with appropriate private and public sector institutions and to further build upon existing dialogues. (Press Release, EUROPA, EU-U.S. Summit: Fact-Sheet on High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth (Nov. 28, 2011), EUROPA.)

The HLWG will focus its attention on finding options and solutions in connection with the following major tasks:

  • reviewing conventional barriers to trade in goods, such as tariffs and tariff-rate quotas;
  • improving the compatibility of regulations and standards imposed by the EU and the U.S.;
  • preventing, reducing, or eliminating “behind the border” non-tariff barriers to trade in goods and services and to investment; and
  • improving cooperation in establishing rules and standards on issues of shared concern and boosting collaboration on economic aid to and development goals for third countries. (Id.)

The HLWG must complete its work by the end of 2012 and provide an interim progress report by mid-June 2012. It is expected to produce specific recommendations on how to implement suggested measures. (Id.)