[Federal Register: June 9, 1998 (Volume 63, Number 110)]
[Page 31546-31548]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]



United States-European Union Transatlantic Economic Partnership

AGENCY: Office of the United States Trade Representative.

ACTION: Notice and Request for Comments.


SUMMARY: Pursuant to their recently-announced Transatlantic Economic 
Partnership (TEP) initiative, the United States and the European Union 
(EU) have proposed: to negotiate the reduction of barriers to U.S.-EU 
trade in goods, services, and agricultural products; cooperate in 
promoting international efforts to open markets around the world, and 
encourage the bilateral exchange of views between governments, 
business, non-governmental organizations on trade, investment, and 
related issues. The Office of the United States Trade Representative 
seeks public comment on the initiative, including possible areas for 
negotiation and cooperation, and on procedures to obtain advice from 
interested parties.

DATES: Comments should be submitted no later than July 6, 1998.

ADDRESSES: Comments may be submitted to Gloria Blue, Executive 
Secretary, TPSC, Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Room 503, 600 
17th Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20508.

Ralph Ives, Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for Europe and 
the Mediterranean or Mark Mowrey, Director for European Regional 
Affairs (202) 395-4620.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On May 18, 1998, President Clinton and his 
EU counterparts issued a joint statement announcing the TEP (reprinted 
following this notice). The TEP will have three components: (1) 
Negotiations to reduce barriers to bilateral trade in services, 
industrial goods, and agricultural products; (2) cooperative efforts in 
the World Trade Organization (WTO) and other international 
organizations to reduce or eliminate barriers that hinder international 
trade and capital flows and to address other related issues; (3) and 
efforts to enhance the transatlantic dialogue between business, non-
governmental organizations, and governments on trade and investment 
    The bilateral trade and investment component of the TEP will 
address trade barriers, particularly unnecessary regulatory 
impediments, that hinder transatlantic trade in such sectors as 
electronic commerce, services, agricultural products, government 
procurement, and intellectual property rights (IPR), while seeking to 
advance shared labor and environmental values. U.S. and EU efforts to 
increase their cooperative efforts in appropriate multilateral 
organizations will encompass such areas as services, agricultural 
goods, industrial tariffs, IPR, trade facilitation, electronic 
commerce, government procurement, trade and the environment, and 
support for the observance of internationally-recognized core labor 
    The TEP will be implemented in a transparent manner that places a 
high priority on obtaining the views of business, labor, environmental, 

[[Page 31547]]

other interested non-governmental constituencies. As a first step 
toward implementing the TEP, U.S. agencies will work with the EU to 
develop an action plan and timetable for achieving results.

Public Comments

    In conformity with the regulations of the Trade Policy Staff 
Committee (``TPSC'') (15 CFR Part 2003), the Chairman of the TPSC 
invites written comments from interested persons on the scope of this 
initiative, proposals for negotiation and/or cooperation, and 
procedures to enhance transparency and non-government participation in 
the TEP. Comments are invited in particular on: (a) Specific 
initiatives to reduce barriers to bilateral trade and investment in the 
sectors and subject areas included in the TEP; (b) specific proposals 
for enhanced bilateral cooperation in the WTO or other appropriate 
international organizations, as described in the joint statement, 
regarding trade in services, IPR, agricultural products, electronic 
commerce, trade and the environment, and labor issues; (c) the economic 
benefits and costs to U.S. producers and consumers of trade and 
investment barrier reduction under the TEP; (d) specific proposals for 
procedures to facilitate the exchange of views between business and 
other non-governmental constituencies and the governments concerned 
regarding matters subject to the TEP; and (e) other aspects of the 
initiative, including its labor, environmental, health, and safety 
    Interested persons may submit written comments, in five (5) typed 
copies, as soon as possible but no later than July 6, 1998. Comments 
should state clearly the position taken and should describe the 
specific information (including data, if possible) supporting that 
position. Any business confidential material must be clearly marked as 
such on the cover page (or letter) and succeeding pages and must be 
accompanied by non-confidential summary thereof.
    Non-confidential submissions will be available for public 
inspection at the USTR Reading Room, Room 101, Office of the United 
States Trade Representative, 600 Seventeenth Street, NW, Washington, 
DC. An appointment to review the file may be made by calling Brenda 
Webb at (202) 395-6186. The reading room is open to the public by 
appointment only from 9:30 a.m. to 12:00 noon and from 1:00 p.m. to 
4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Frederick L. Montgomery,
Chairman, Trade Policy Staff Committee.

EU/US Summit, London 18 May 1998

The Transatlantic Economic Partnership

    1. The transatlantic economic relationship is underpinned by the 
most important trade and economic links in the world. In order to 
strengthen further these links to the benefit of our people and 
firms, we have decided to build on the New Transatlantic Agenda 
signed in Madrid in 1995. This initiative will reinforce our 
cooperation and joint leadership in international economic relations 
and fora.
    2. The European Union (EU) and the United States (US) share the 
world's largest and most complex economic relationship. Two-way 
trade represents around one-fifth of each other's total for goods 
and one-third for services. Furthermore the US and EU each account 
for approximately half of the other's foreign direct investment 
abroad. The prosperity of our populations is intertwined to an ever-
increasing extent; and as the European Union has grown and deepened 
its integration, this process has accelerated.
    3. We have a fundamental interest in a dynamic, respected system 
of international trade rules. The size of our economies and the 
volume of transatlantic trade and investment have a significant 
effect on this system. Past multilateral efforts to open markets 
have often been led by the US and EU. As we look ahead, it will be 
important for the US and EU of demonstrate our support for the 
further opening of markets world-wide.
    4. In 1995, we committed ourselves to expand and deepen 
cooperation on economic issues through the New Transatlantic Agenda 
(NTA) by taking concrete steps to strengthen the multilateral 
trading system and enhance the transatlantic economic relationship. 
We are pleased with the progress of the NTA so far. Under the NTA, 
we have laid the basis for multilateral trade negotiations and have 
finalized agreements on mutual recognition of testing and conformity 
assessment, customs co-operation and equivalency in veterinary 
standards and procedures. And in December 1997 we committed 
ourselves to enhance our regulatory cooperation while facilitating 
consumer protection.
    5. We now believe the time has come to build on the NTA's highly 
significant achievements. Accordingly, we agree to reinforce our 
close relationship through an initiative involving the 
intensification and extension of multilateral and bilateral 
cooperation and common actions in the field of trade and investment. 
Our reinforced partnership can be instrumental in setting the agenda 
for a more open and accessible world trading system and at the same 
time can greatly improve the economic relationship between the EU 
and US, reduce frictions between us, and promote prosperity on both 
sides of the Atlantic.
    6. The partnership will encompass multilateral and bilateral 
elements as outlined below.

Multilateral Action

    7. In keeping with our leading role in the world trade system, 
we reaffirm our determination to maintain open markets, resist 
protectionism and sustain the momentum of liberalization. The most 
effective means of maintaining open markets and promoting the 
expansion of trade is the continued development and strengthening of 
the multilateral system. The EU and US will give priority to 
pursuing their objectives together with other trading partners 
through the World Trade Organization. Today's WTO Ministerial 
Conference will play an important role in carrying forward the 
implementation of the WTO built-in agenda and in laying the 
groundwork for further multilateral negotiations leading to broad-
based liberalization.
    8. As part of our effort to strengthen further the multilateral 
system and seek wider trade liberalization, our shared objectives 
    (a) The full implementation of WTO commitments and respect for 
dispute settlement obligations;
    (b) Ambitious objectives and offers for the liberalization of 
services in forthcoming WTO negotiations;
    (c) The multilateral negotiations for the continuation of the 
reform process in agriculture in full conformity with Article 20 of 
the WTO Agreement on Agriculture;
    (d) The intensification of forward-looking work in the WTO on 
trade facilitation;
    (e) A broad WTO work programme for the reduction on an MFN basis 
of industrial tariffs and the exploration of the feasibility of 
their progressive elimination within a timescale to be agreed;
    (f) The adoption of common positions on the respect for and 
further improvement of the intellectual property rights identified 
in the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property 
Rights (TRIPS);
    (g) The development of common approaches in appropriate 
multilateral fora on investment competition, public procurement and 
trade and the environment;
    (h) Cooperation on the accession of new members and the better 
integration of LLDCs in the multilateral trading system;
    (i) The development of a comprehensive work programme for 
electronic commerce in the WTO covering trade-related aspects and 
will continue the current practice of not imposing customs duties on 
electronics transmissions;
    (j) Support for the observance of internationally recognized 
core labour standards and the goal of reaching agreement on an ILO 
declaration and follow-up mechanism, noting the important role of 
the social partners in the process, and rejecting use of labour 
standards for protectionist purposes; and support for the 
continuation of the dialogue on measures in the relevant fora to 
combat corruption.

Bilateral Action

    9. The EU and the US will intensify their efforts to reduce or 
eliminate barriers to trade and investment between them. This will 
be done in ways which are in full conformity with their 
international and, in particular, WTO obligations and supportive of 
the primary goal of multilateral liberalization

[[Page 31548]]

making as much progress as possible before 2000. Such efforts will 
expand transatlantic commerce and reduce frictions, benefiting both 
our peoples. We will maintain high standards of safety and 
protection for health, consumers and the environment. Our 
partnership will not create new barriers to third countries.
    10. We will focus on those barriers that really matter to 
transatlantic trade and investment and to this end we will aim in 
particular at the removal of those regulatory barriers that hinder 
market opportunities, both for goods and for services. We will 
concentrate specifically on the following:
    (a) Technical barriers to trade in goods, reinforcing our 
efforts for the elimination or substantial lowering of the remaining 
barriers, while further pursuing our commitment to high health, 
safety and environmental standards;
    (b) Services, with the aim of substantially improving 
opportunities for market opening to the benefit of consumers and 
small, medium and larger enterprises;
    (c) Agriculture, with the objective of strengthening our 
regulatory cooperation in the field of human, plant and animal 
health issues, including biotechnology, while recognizing the 
importance of continuing to improve our respective regulatory 
processes and of improving our scientific cooperation;
    (d) Government procurement to increase and facilitate access to 
public procurement markets, including by enhancing the compatibility 
of electronic procurement information and government contracting 
    (e) Intellectual property as identified in the Agreement on 
TRIPS in order to improve the protection of rightholders and to 
reduce costs.
    11. We will build on efforts already underway for goods but 
extending to services, to cover as wide a range of barriers and 
sectors as possible identifying the priorities both for the near and 
longer term. Instruments to achieve this will be:
    (a) The mutual recognition of testing and approval procedures, 
of equivalence of technical and other requirements and, in certain 
areas, where appropriate, the progressive alignment or, where 
possible, the adoption of the same standards, regulatory 
requirements and procedures adopting internationally agreed 
standards where possible;
    (b) The intensification of the dialogue between scientific and 
other expert advisers, standard setting bodies, and regulatory 
    (c) High degree of transparency and consultation with all 
interested parties.
    12. Within the framework of our bilateral partnership we will 
seek to advance our shared values in the areas of labour and 
    13. We will explore the scope for further cooperative dialogue 
and greater compatibility of procedures between our competition 
    14. We will maintain and extend our work on electronic commerce 
as set out in the joint statement at the Washington Summit of 
December 1997.

Extending the Transatlantic Dialogue

    15. The EU and US recall the imaginative and practical approach 
of EU and US business in the Transatlantic Business Dialogue which 
has contributed directly to many of the NTA's successes, such as the 
Mutual Recognition Agreement. We urge the TABD to continue and 
extend its valuable contribution to the process of removing barriers 
to trade and investment. We reaffirm our commitment in the New 
Transatlantic Agenda to promote dialogue between representatives of 
consumer and labour interests as illustrated by the helpful second 
meeting of the Transatlantic Labour Dialogue held in London in 
April. We invite interested non-governmental organizations to 
participate and extend this dialogue on consumer protection, 
scientific, safety and environmental issues relevant to 
international trade as a constructive contribution to policy making.
    16. In line with our commitment to encourage greater 
transparency in the work of international trade bodies, we will seek 
to facilitate the closer association of business and other 
interested non-governmental constituencies with the activities of 
the WTO and other international trade organizations, as well as with 
our bilateral activities.
    17. Within the framework provided by the NTA we will establish a 
dynamic process yielding concrete results with the intention of 
applying them, where agreed, at the relevant levels of government in 
the EU and the US; and to this end we will pursue the multilateral 
and bilateral actions set out in this statement as follows:
    (a) Establish as soon as possible a Plan identifying areas for 
common actions both bilaterally and multilaterally, with a timetable 
for achieving specific results;
    (b) Take all necessary steps to allow the early implementation 
of this Plan, including any necessary authority to start 

    \1\ Nothing in this text constitutes an EU negotiating mandate.

[FR Doc. 98-15290 Filed 6-8-98; 8:45 am]