Brussels, 10 May 2010 - EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht will visit the United States on 10-12 May 2010 to meet with United States Trade Representative Ron Kirk, US Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs Michael Froman as well as other leading figures in the Administration, the Congress and business. His visit will specifically focus on the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) which has the potential to unlock significant economic benefits for both sides of the Atlantic. Commissioner De Gucht, who is the TEC co-Chair on the EU side, will meet with his US counterpart Michael Froman in the National Security Council to discuss the way forward on this important initiative.
"The transatlantic economic partnership remains at the core of the world economy. Despite the economic crisis, the US and the EU are each others' most important markets, generating jobs and growth on both side of the Atlantic", said Commissioner De Gucht. "There is a potential to go further. By breaking down regulatory barriers, we can create additional opportunities which are urgently needed in times of economic recovery. I am convinced the Transatlantic Economic Council can play a significant role here."
TEC discussions will focus on how the Council can be used most effectively as an active instrument in the current economic recovery efforts.
Commissioner De Gucht will also meet with USTR Ron Kirk to discuss issues relating to the transatlantic trade relationship and the ongoing Doha Development Agenda. In addition, Commissioner De Gucht will meet with Members of the US Congress to discuss transatlantic economic relations.
The Transatlantic Economic Council
At the EU-US Summit on 30 April 2007, Commission President Barroso, German Chancellor Merkel and US President Bush signed the "Framework for Advancing Transatlantic Economic Integration between the USA and the EU". This framework included the establishment of the
Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) which oversees, guides and accelerates the implementation of work designed to closer integrate the EU and US economies. The TEC brings together those Members of the European Commission and US Cabinet Members who carry the political responsibility for closer economic ties.
The TEC is currently co-chaired by the EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht on the EU side and Michael Froman (US deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs) on the US side. Other Commissioners and their US counterparts participate in TEC meetings. The TEC Framework covers areas like regulatory cooperation, investment, intellectual property rights, innovation, secure trade and financial markets issues.
The EU and the US also have a range of further dialogues - the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue, the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue and the TransAtlantic Business Dialogue - designed to further this agenda. The reports of TEC meetings are available to the public.
EU-US trade relations
The link between the EU and US economies remains strong; despite the crisis, it is the strongest in the world. The EU and the US are each other's main trading partners. Trade flows across the Atlantic amount to around €1.9 billion every day, reaching 700 billion Euros annually. The two economies are interdependent to a high degree. The EU and the US absorb about 20 % of each other's exports in goods, and about 30 % of each other's exports in services. Total FDI stocks held in each others countries reach approximately €1.89 trillion (in comparison the EU FDI in China amounted to 47 billion EU). The overall "transatlantic workforce" is estimated at 12 to 14 million people, of which roughly half are Americans who owe their jobs directly or indirectly to EU companies.