EU’s Barroso Calls for Easing of Transatlantic Regulatory Hurdles

At the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE CEO John Thain (left) and President Barroso (center) visit a trader.  (Photo: NYSE)
At the New York Stock Exchange, NYSE CEO John Thain (left) and President Barroso (center) visit a trader. (Photo: NYSE)

Speaking to an audience of USCIB members and other invited guests gathered at the New York Stock Exchange, José Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, delivered remarks on “Strengthening the Transatlantic Economy” on April 27.

Joined by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who holds the rotating presidency of the European Union, and other European leaders, President Barroso later met with President Bush at the White House in the annual U.S.-EU summit.  Topics on the agenda included rekindling the WTO’s Doha Round and efforts to deal with climate change.

The European Commission chief used his remarks in New York to call for joint measures between the United States and Europe to ease regulatory burdens that can impede trade, investment and other cooperative action.  He cited OECD estimates that removal of such barriers could lead to permanent gains in per capita GDP on both sides of the Atlantic of between 3.0 and 3.5 percent.

“It is no longer tariffs, but non-tariff barriers and regulatory burdens which act as the biggest brake on the transatlantic engine,” said Mr. Barroso.  “By further reducing unnecessary obstacles to trade and administrative burdens linked to different standards, we will do much to stimulate further economic growth.”

Mr. Barroso called for both parties to work together, through a joint commission, to address existing, unnecessary barriers posed by divergent regulations, and take steps to avoid the emergence of new ones.

“This of course does not prejudice the right of each party to adopt measures to achieve legitimate policy objectives, like protecting consumers or our environment,” he stated.

At the April 30 summit meeting at the White House, President Bush and the European leaders said they had made progress in efforts to address global warming, agreeing that climate change requires global action but that countries have the right choose their own ways to tackle it.

“I think that each country needs to recognize that we must reduce our greenhouse gases and deal, obviously, with their own internal politics, to come up with an effective strategy,” stated Mr. Bush.

The leaders also promised to press their respective Doha Round negotiators to reach agreement on a comprehensive package in the multilateral trade talks.

Staff contact: Justine Badimon

Remarks by President Barroso, “Strengthening the Transatlantic Economy” (PDF file)

More on USCIB’s European Union Committee

European Commission website

NYSE website

Staff Contact:   Alice Slayton Clark

Director, Investment, Trade and China
Tel: 202.682.0051

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