Cut Red Tape by Improving US-EU Regulatory Cooperation

What could be a better way to start the new year than with a commitment to work toward greater shared economic growth and job creation? The United States and European Union enjoy the world’s largest commercial relationship where billions of dollars worth of additional benefits can be gained through completion of a comprehensive trade and investment agreement. For this reason, a commitment to begin negotiations is at the top of industry’s wish list for 2013.

Recently, nearly 100 stakeholders on both sides of the Atlantic, including business and consumer groups, told American and European negotiators that they support negotiation of a trade deal that includes a focus on improved regulatory cooperation. None of them opposed the idea.  Further, approximately 45 submissions provide specific recommendations for their sectors, including regulations, procedures, or standards that can be aligned or changed to result in greater safety and lowered burdens today.  Some 30 submissions added that there is already some form of sectoral cooperation in place between regulators that could be strengthened through formal negotiations.

Bottom line: regulatory cooperation works and produces meaningful results. For example: A Boeing airplane deemed airworthy by our Federation Aviation Administration, can be sold in Europe without further scrutiny by European regulators, just as an Airbus approved by the European Aviation Safety Authority (EASA) can be flown here.  We need more of these arrangements and a negotiation could put a structure in place to drive regulators to reach more regulatory equivalence arrangements in other sectors.  Industry can also help by providing the empirical evidence regulators need to achieve greater regulatory cooperation. Many of these stakeholder submissions provided excellent detail.

Unnecessary regulatory divergence is cited as the most significant barrier to closer transatlantic trade ties. American and European regulators share similar goals: they seek the highest levels of safety for consumers, investors, and the environment.  Yet they may take different approaches to achieve comparable outcomes.   The U.S. Chamber believes recognizing compatible regulatory approaches would cut through red tape and yield billions in savings.

European and American officials acknowledge our shared need for growth and job creation, and a comprehensive trade and investment agreement is a surefire way to get there. A firm commitment to undertake these negotiations would be the perfect start to 2013.

Post by: Adam Schlosser, Senior Manager, Center for Global Regulatory Cooperation, US Chamber of Commerce

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