The Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC)
The Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) is one of the most recent additions to the existing set of transatlantic institutions. The TEC established by Section IV of the Framework for Advancing Transatlantic Economic Integration between the United States of America and the European Union, was signed on April 30, 2007 by U.S. President George W. Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel (the then President of the European Council), and EU Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso.
The TEC was established to harmonize the EU and the US in order to provide the foundations for a common transatlantic market. One of the major goals which motivated the establishment of the TEC was to enhance "government to government" interaction between the EU and US member governments. Increased economic cooperation, a product of the harmonization of US and EU member governments, between the EU and the US stabilizes and reinforces the global economy. Because the US and the EU are both major players in the global economy, economic harmonization between these players promotes a strong, healthy global economic climate for the future.
The TEC is currently chaired by Günter Verheugen, Vice President of the European Commission, and Michael Froman, Deputy Assistant to President Obama and Deputy National Security Adviser for International Economic Affairs. The permanent European members are Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Commissioner of External Relations, Catherine Ashton, Commissioner of Trade, and Charlie McCreevy, Commissioner of Internal Market and Services. In addition to the permanent Commissioners, the TEC, by mandate of the London Summit Leaders, has formulated a Group of Advisers comprised of the co-chairs of the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue, the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue, and the Transatlantic Business Dialogue.
At the December 2008 meeting, the TEC summarized the progress being made to the Framework for Advancing Transatlantic Economic Integration between the United States of America and the European Union, the TEC's initial document; the following is some of the TEC's noted progress areas.
- In the area of Investment, the US and European Commission members of the Investment Dialogue have concurred to highlight problematic areas concerning "bilateral trade" and plans to compose a list of the top countries with investment barriers.
- In the area of Securities Regulatory Regimes, the Securities Exchange Commission and the European Commission decided to create a plan that would eventually lead to the "mutual recognition of [the] US and EU securities regimes."
- In the area of Intellectual Property Rights Enforcement, the US and the EU have agreed to continue work on creating an Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement which would allow for increased "enforcement and cooperation" of Intellectual Property Rights.
- In the area of Mutual Recognition of Trade Partnership Programs, the US and the EU agreed to plan for initiating the mutual recognition security measures for handling exports and imports.
- In the area of International Trade and Investment, the US Office of Management and Budget and the Secretariat General of the European Commission, have both altered their requirements for analyzing the effects of enacting international trade and investment regulations on each others trade systems.
- In the area of High-level Regulatory Cooperation Forum, the TEC has noted progress in the following areas: measuring the US and the EU's legal and institutional regulation skeletons, and planning to create an international dialogue on risk analysis.
At the October 27th, 2009 TEC meeting, the group was charged with continuing their efforts in support of transatlantic cooperation. This TEC meeting will be focused on topics related to regulatory cooperation, intellectual property rights, secure trade, and financial markets.
On a typical day, €2.7 billion in trade and investment travels across the Atlantic. Because of this large transatlantic monetary exchange, and the fact that 70 percent of outward US investment flows to the EU, the EU and US economic partnership has been classified as the world's deepest and most dynamic trade and investment relationship. In fact, the US invested substantially more in Belgium than China.
For more information on the Transatlantic Economic Council or to read the full December 2008 progress report, please click here.
Annual bilateral trade: US$909 billion (Euro 620 billion)
Combined trade: 40% of world trade
Combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP): 40% of world GDP
Bilateral investment flows provide 14 million jobs
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For more information, please visit the Transatlantic Economic Council or to read the full December 2008 progress report.