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WASHINGTON, DC - Today, the Bush Administration hosted the second informal U.S.-EU economic ministerial meeting to discuss transatlantic economic integration and shared economic challenges. Commerce Secretary Carlos M. Gutierrez and Energy Secretary Samuel W. Bodman met with European Union Commission Vice President Günter Verheugen and Finnish Minister for Trade and Industry Mauri Pekkarinen to review joint progress in the most significant areas of the transatlantic economy, including innovation, intellectual property rights (IPR), regulatory cooperation, and energy security.
"The U.S. and EU economic relationship continues to be the largest and most successful bilateral trade and investment relationships in the world," said Gutierrez. "However, we also recognize the need to continue to focus on the burdensome regulations that slow down economic growth, promote enforcement of intellectual property rights, and identify ways to collaborate on innovation efforts. Today we agreed to look at new projects in these areas, such as the automotive and healthcare sectors, to bring meaningful results for both economies."
"The aim of strengthening growth and competitiveness, creating jobs and boosting productivity through innovation, lies at the heart of both the European economic agenda and of the transatlantic Economic Initiative," said Verheugen. "Results-oriented policies in the areas of innovation - which includes protecting and enforcing our intellectual property rights - and regulation will reduce bureaucracy and regulatory barriers to trade and investment. It will make a real difference for our citizens and our businesses on both sides of the Atlantic."
"The United States and the members of the European Union share common goals in providing reliable, affordable, and clean energy to our countries," Bodman said. "We are committed to strengthening our joint energy security by intensifying our collaboration to diversify our energy sources and types, promote greater energy efficiency, and encourage clean energy technology investments."
Following the adoption of a joint strategy to fight soaring global illegal trade in counterfeit and pirate goods, U.S. and EU experts are working closely together to protect Intellectual Property Rights. The teams are working to improve border enforcement cooperation, help the private sector to enforce their rights, and help third countries such as China and India fight counterfeiting and piracy.
Gutierrez, Bodman, Verheugen, and Pekkarinen also agreed to strengthen efforts to remove regulatory barriers to trade and investment. The parties will explore a limited number of projects including in the automobile sector and health-related industries.
The participants also welcomed the progress made under the transatlantic Innovation Initiative, and agreed to support innovation in areas such as health-related industries, nanotechnology and automotives.
Participants further discussed a range of other critical economic issues, including the challenges of the global energy market and the Doha Development Agenda negotiations.
The U.S.-EU relationship is the deepest and largest bilateral trade and investment relationship in the world. It encompasses $756 billion of trade in goods and services each year, large flows of investment and provides employment to as many as 14 million people on both sides of the Atlantic. Strengthening the relationship between the U.S. and the EU could translate into huge economic benefits and make both economies more competitive and dynamic.
Business organizations, including UNICE, the American Chamber of Commerce and the Trans-Atlantic Business and Consumer Dialogues, have renewed calls to keep transatlantic cooperation as a top priority
The meeting follows on commitments made in the 2005 U.S.-EU Summit, confirmed at the 2006 Summit, which called for further transatlantic economic integration. The next U.S.-EU Summit is due to take place in the first half of 2007.
Craig Stevens, (202) 586-4940