EU – US trade talks

Over the last few weeks representatives from the EU Commission and the Office of the US Trade Representative have held meetings in Brussels to discuss the scope of a potential EU-US Trade deal.

At the end of last year, leaders of the EU and US established a High-Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth to assess different options for strengthening transatlantic trade relations with the aim to spur growth and create jobs.

An EU-US trade agreement could have great potential to stimulate economic growth. For example, despite already low tariffs on many products, it is expected that the elimination of existing tariffs could give a significant boost to transatlantic trade. There are also many remaining non-tariff barriers to trade that currently stifle innovation and growth; addressing these by way of a new trade deal would be hugely beneficial for business and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic.

There are many options the Working Group could explore for greater liberalization of the transatlantic economic relationship. In a new ICC UK position paper, we have highlighted three key messages that are crucial for the Working Group to be mindful of in order to ensure that the agreement delivers to its full potential.

First, we believe that it is important to build a deep and comprehensive agreement which will cover key barriers to trade, with a particular focus on standards and regulatory issues.

Second, there is a real need to address a number of “live” regulatory issues which have the potential to stifle international trade—such as the Dodd-Frank Act in the US, or draft EU Data Protection regulation.

Finally, we think that there is a real opportunity for an EU-US agreement to lay the foundations for new international agreements to enhance trade and promote regulatory coherence. An ambitious EU-US trade agreement could have a positive impact on the flagging Doha trade talks – just as the creation of the EU Single Market led to the successful Uruguay Round. A trade-enhancing deal will also send a strong signal to third countries against protectionism.

We look to remaining engaged with UK and EU officials on the direction and substance of the EU-US initiative going forward. Members should get in touch with Dorothée Heinze ( for further updates.