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Document 52006IP0239

European Parliament resolution on EU-US transatlantic economic relations (2005/2082(INI))

OJ C 298E , 8.12.2006, p. 235–240 (ES, CS, DA, DE, ET, EL, EN, FR, IT, LV, LT, HU, MT, NL, PL, PT, SK, SL, FI, SV)

52006IP0239

European Parliament resolution on EU-US transatlantic economic relations (2005/2082(INI))

Official Journal 298 E , 08/12/2006 P. 0235 - 0240


P6_TA(2006)0239

EU-US economic relations

European Parliament resolution on EU-US transatlantic economic relations (2005/2082(INI))

The European Parliament,

- having regard to the Transatlantic Declaration on EC-US relations of 1990, the New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA) of 3 December 1995 [1] and the Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP) of 18 May 1998 [2],

- having regard to the Commission Communication of 11 March 1998 entitled "The New Transatlantic Marketplace" (NTM) (COM(1998)0125),

- having regard to the Bonn Declaration of 21 June 1999 [3] and, in particular, to its sections on "Promoting Prosperity and Development in a Rapidly Changing World" and "Improving Early Warning",

- having regard to the "Positive Economic Agenda" of 2 May 2002 [4],

- having regard to its resolution of 9 June 2005 on transatlantic relations [5] as well as to its previous resolutions of 17 May 2001 [6], 13 December 2001 [7], 15 May 2002 [8] and 19 June 2003 [9], and to its resolutions of 22 April 2004 [10] and 13 January 2005 [11],

- having regard to the Commission Communication of 20 March 2001 entitled "Reinforcing the Transatlantic Relationship: Focusing on Strategy and Delivering Results" (COM(2001)0154),

- having regard to the Commission Communication of 18 May 2005 entitled "A stronger EU-US Partnership and a more open market for the 21st century" (COM(2005)0196),

- having regard to the 2004 Declaration on "Strengthening Our Economic Partnership" [12],

- having regard to the outcome of the EU-US Summit held on 20 June 2005 in Washington DC and, in particular to its Economic Initiative: "The European Union and the United States Initiative to enhance Transatlantic Economic Integration and Growth",

- having regard to the Joint EU-US Work Programme for the implementation of the above-mentioned Economic Initiative adopted at the informal EU-US Economic Ministerial Meeting of 30 November 2005,

- having regard to US Congress Draft House Resolution 77 on Transatlantic Relations presented on 9 February 2005,

- having regard to the study by the OECD on the benefits of liberalising product markets and reducing barriers to international trade and investment ("Preferential Trading Arrangements in Agricultural and Food Markets — The Case of the European Union and the United States", published in March 2005),

- having regard to its resolution of 1 December 2005 on preparations for the Sixth Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation in Hong Kong [13],

- having regard to the European Parliament hearing organised by the Committee on International Trade on 26 May 2005 concerning transatlantic economic relations,

- having regard to the working document of the Committee on International Trade (PE 364.940),

- having regard to its resolution of 1 June 2006 on improving EU-US relations in the framework of a Transatlantic Partnership Agreement [14],

- having regard to Rule 45 of its Rules of Procedure,

- having regard to the report of the Committee on International Trade and the opinions of the Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs, Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, Committee on Transport and Tourism and Committee on Culture and Education (A6-0131/2006),

A. whereas this resolution concentrates primarily on EU-US economic relations, it should be acknowledged that the transatlantic relationship includes all European and American States,

B. whereas deeper integration is the natural outcome for two economies that share similar backgrounds, resource endowments and economic models but which for historical, cultural and economic reasons will never be identical;

C. whereas economic ties between the EU and the US are an important stabilising factor for the transatlantic relationship in general and have grown so significantly over the last decades that both partners have an increasing stake in each other's economic development,

D. whereas solid political and economic relations and the development of common standards between the EU and the US have an automatic positive spillover effect on North American Free Trade Agreement countries,

E. whereas the European Union and the United States should commit themselves, within the framework of their partnership and in a wider framework of world governance, to promoting international and multilateral standards in the field of trade (WTO), social matters (ILO) and the environment (IPCC and UNEP),

F. whereas the most important trade barriers between the EU and the US are in agriculture, including tariffs, quotas, production, export and fiscal subsidies and technical barriers, and whereas levels of protection for trade in services have remained high while tariffs on manufactured goods have been progressively abolished with the exception of products in sensitive sectors,

G. whereas greater political leadership and vision is needed in order to update the New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA) of 1995 and the Transatlantic Economic Partnership of 1998 to take account of new realities and old conflicts and to continue to deepen transatlantic ties,

H. whereas Europe and the US must venture into the future on the clear assumption that a stronger transatlantic bond will have global implications and therefore must take into due consideration the interests of other economic players, countries and peoples in order to share prosperity more equally and to successfully address the global challenges in the inter-related fields of security, world economic governance, the environment and poverty reduction,

I. whereas the EU-US bilateral economic relationship and the multilateral agenda should be seen in the light of a complementary and mutually reinforcing positive process, and whereas the benefits from an even more integrated market will spill over onto the wider economic relationship of Europe with the Americas, provided that regional interests are taken into due account in regional negotiations on market integration,

J. whereas the use of different economic and legal instruments and procedures to address the same situations should be properly managed within the transatlantic economic partnership to prevent the dissolution of the transatlantic market,

K. whereas a more harmonised regulatory environment between the EU and the US would be beneficial for all countries in general and for neighbouring trading partners and developing countries in particular,

L. Whereas the Financial Services Action Plan, with Parliament's successful support, has played an important role in creating more competitive EU capital markets, which have strengthened Europe's competitiveness,

M. whereas the increasing speed of change inherent in our technological and informational societies suggests that the EU should make a greater qualitative and quantitative effort in the sector of scientific and technological research so as to bridge sufficiently the "technological divide" which separates it from the corresponding US sector, thus ensuring appropriate conditions for parity in bilateral trade,

N. whereas strengthened transatlantic economic relations can provide vital input for achieving the Lisbon objectives,

A de facto Transatlantic Market

1. Stresses that although it may have appeared in recent years that the strain on EU-US relations in the political field had at times affected the economic sphere; and whereas it may have also appeared as if the appeal of globalization and emerging markets such as China, India and Brazil had reduced the magnitude or significance of EU-US economic ties; in fact, as recent works [15] clearly demonstrate, the opposite is true:

(a) trade between the two great markets has reached unprecedented levels, with trade exchanges alone being worth EUR 1 billion a day;

(b) trade in services has continued to grow significantly with the EU exporting almost EUR 120 billion to the US, which accounts for a third of total extra-EU trade in services and translates into a surplus of EUR 15 billion in trade in services with the US;

(c) mutual foreign direct investment (the deepest form of cross-border integration) across the Atlantic now amounts to over EUR 1,5 trillion and has grown considerably;

(d) European and US foreign affiliates' profits in each others' markets have surged to record figures since 2003;

2. Stresses in this respect that such EU-US economic ties translate into a substantial volume of employment, since close to 7 million jobs on either side are already provided by the transatlantic economy and therefore remain dependent on its functioning and expansion;

3. Notes that, although the EU and the US economies have become so intertwined and integrated that they form a genuine transatlantic market, a large potential for growth and employment still lies untapped due to remaining trade barriers;

4. States that the EU-US relationship is overshadowed to a considerable extent by political conflict and is quite often characterised by rhetoric and trade disputes; notes that on both sides of the Atlantic there is a neglect of how deep and integrated the transatlantic economy has become; warns therefore against the risks inherent in taking this unique relationship for granted, treating it with benign neglect rather than with the degree of political engagement and attention required;

5. Fears that the current framework for the transatlantic relationship does not adequately reflect the above-mentioned reality; therefore calls for a more visionary and strategic approach to respond properly to the pressing economic issues affecting the EU and the US economies, such as competition policies, standardised corporate governance, compatible or common standards and more effective regulatory cooperation;

The way ahead: a stronger transatlantic economic partnership

6. Notes that the above-mentioned Commission Communication of 18 May 2005 is a good basis for substantially strengthening transatlantic economic relations; stresses that further work is needed to translate the reality of the transatlantic market into an operational and strategic concept that can gather sufficient public and political support;

7. Recommends that by the next 2006 summit, the EU and the US agree to both update the New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA) of 1995 and the Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP) of 1998 and draw up a new transatlantic partnership agreement that covers both and leads to the achievement of a "barrier-free transatlantic market" by 2015 with a 2010 accelerated target date for financial services and capital markets; this initiative should be based on the Economic Initiative adopted at the June 2005 EU-US Summit and the Joint EU-US Work Programme, setting specific sector-by-sector objectives with a view to taking stock of the progress achieved in 2005-2006 and specifying future steps to be taken;

8. Stresses that the economic chapter of the proposed partnership agreement should provide for a new architecture that includes: regulatory co-operation; a set of operational tools of an horizontal character (including an effective early warning system and a third-generation agreement on the application of competition law); sectoral economic co-operation agreements building on the above-mentioned Joint EU-US Work Programme;

9. Emphasises that the strengthening of transatlantic economic cooperation should not lead to downward harmonization in the regulatory field that would erode consumer confidence with regard to health and safety; therefore urges that the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue and the Transatlantic Environmental Dialogue be revitalized to develop "best practices" to advance consumer health, safety and environmental protection, thus facilitating a more sustainable transatlantic marketplace;

10. Reaffirms that, in the current environment of growing international competitive pressures, the vision of such a common economic area is essential to increase the political commitment to a more substantial economic agenda that enhances the competitive position of the knowledge-based economies of both partners; promotes growth and innovation and thereby creates new jobs and increases prosperity;

11. Notes that a fragmented international regulatory environment hampers the potential for growth in international trade and stresses that closer regulatory cooperation between the EU and the US is essential to advance towards a more harmonised regulatory environment whereby economic operators from all countries in general and developing countries in particular can operate with lower costs and greater freedom;

12. Points out that the positive state of the US and EU economies and the strengthening of their economic relations, in particular through institutionalised instruments, are contributing in no small way, through the weight of the two areas in question, to the growth and development of the whole world economy;

13. Calls on the transatlantic partnership, which accounts for roughly 57 % of world gross domestic product and remains the twin engine of the world economy, to exercise global leadership in a context marked by growing inter-dependence, the emergence of new economic powers and an increasing number of global challenges that cut across national boundaries; recommends in this respect more in-depth and systematic consultations on common economic issues with other major economic players (including India, Japan, Brazil, Canada, Mexico, Chile, Russia and China);

14. Considers that, in the interests of the international economy as a whole, apart from these specific economic areas, for the purpose of greater security and stability of trade, there is a need to seek appropriate and closer forms of better coordination regarding monetary fluctuations;

Doha Development Agenda

15. Stresses that both the EU and the US carry a special responsibility and share common objectives, and consequently have every interest in working constructively together in the ongoing WTO multilateral negotiations; calls upon both partners to respect the ambitious and broad based programme of the Doha Development Agenda with full regard for the development dimension so as to pave the way for a successful completion of the Doha Round in 2006;

16. Urges the EU and the US to remain fully committed to the WTO multilateral negotiations and not to engage in competition for bilateral or regional trade agreements; reiterates its call for the Commission not to decide on the desirability or feasibility of possible new bilateral or regional trade agreements without engaging in prior meaningful consultations with the Parliament;

17. Hopes that there will be a substantial reduction in EU and US tariffs peaks and other significant tariffs regardless of whether the Doha Round is successfully concluded;

18. Welcomes the agreement within the WTO framework on the definitive elimination of all forms of agricultural export subsidies, including those in the form of food aid and other export refund systems, by 2013 and stresses that comparable progress has yet to be achieved in the areas of domestic support and market access;

19. Calls on the US to remove customs impediments such as custom user fees and excessive invoicing requirements on importers; regrets the US Bureau of Customs and Border Protection's lack of recognition of the EU as a Customs Union and as a "country-of-origin"; calls on the US Government to reverse its negative stance towards EU membership of the World Customs Organization (WCO);

Follow-up to the Economic Initiative and the EU-US informal Economic Ministerial Meeting of 30 November 2005

20. Supports the adoption at the EU-US Economic Ministerial Meeting of the joint EU-US Work Programme for the implementation of the Economic Declaration, which contains concrete activities in eleven areas to move forward transatlantic economic integration; calls, however, on both partners to engage in genuine implementation and deepening of this joint Work Programme with a greater and more ambitious sense of direction, long- term strategic objectives and a detailed timetable for the implementation of joint actions and projects that takes into account the specific role of independent regulatory agencies; notes in this respect that stakeholders from the already established transatlantic dialogues, including consumer groups, unions and environmental groups, should be more actively involved in the process of monitoring and reviewing the Economic Initiative and Work Programme;

21. Takes the view that the economic chapter of the proposed partnership agreement should provide, in line with the Economic Initiative, specific ideas for the removal of non-tariff barriers in key market sectors through a process of gradual regulatory alignment and mutual recognition of rules and standards;

Promoting regulatory and standards cooperation

22. Welcomes the fact that the commitment to "establish a high-level Regulatory Cooperation Forum", a key element of the June 2005 Summit Declaration, has finally been set in motion with the proposal to organise at least two meetings in 2006; recommends a swift and full implementation of the 2005 Roadmap for EU-US Regulatory Co-operation; warns that without a sufficient and timely involvement and the support of the various stakeholders and agencies, regulatory cooperation will not achieve the expected results;

23. Reiterates that a considerable number of obstacles to trade and investment still need to be tackled in both the EU and the US and notes with concern the increasing pressures to respond to foreign competition by means of protectionist or unfair trade measures; stresses that a renewed commitment to the principles of openness, transparency and the rule of law reflected in the Economic Initiative and the proposed new Transatlantic Partnership Agreement should help eliminate most of these problems;

24. Stresses that regulatory barriers have become one of the most significant obstacles to trade and investment between the EU and the US and warns, in particular, against the proliferation of unjustified additional regulations at State level, the non-use of relevant international standards as the basis for technical regulationsand the practice of excessive reliance on third-party certification in the US;

25. Expresses its concern about the lack of a clear definition of "national security" in the US and its excessive use as a restriction on trade and investment; regrets in particular the so-called "Berry Amendment" used by the Defense Department and the 1988 "Exon-Florio Amendment" and subsequent legislation to limit foreign investment in, or ownership of, businesses relating even tangentially to national security;

26. Notes that differences in court rules and the practice of recognising court judgments within EU countries and among US States has a significant impact on legal disputes concerning transatlantic transactions; asks the EU and the US to examine the feasibility of an agreement on jurisdiction, recognition and enforcement of court judgments related to civil and commercial matters;

27. Notes that the transatlantic telecommunication market is still hampered by regulatory barriers and incompatible standards which translate into a situation whereby, despite the fact that nine out of the ten biggest telecom companies in the world are based in the EU or the US, no US or European company is operating on both continents to any significant extent;

Stimulating open and competitive capital markets

28. Calls for the mutual recognition of accounting standards followed by their progressive convergence, based on reliable regulatory supervision, so that companies can use a single standard in both markets and in order to reduce listing costs; asks the Commission, however, to monitor closely the full equivalence roadmap of the International Accounting Standards Board/Financial Accounting Standards Board, to avoid any pro-US bias;

29. Calls for the enhancement of the Financial Markets Regulatory Dialogue via a bi-annual policy review of transatlantic financial services matters between the European Parliament, the Commission, the relevant US authorities, and the economic committees of the US Congress, to take place before and after every annual EU-US summit; commends the work done so far by industry members such as the Futures and Options Association;

30. Strongly rejects the US postponement of the implementation of the Basel II Accord on Capital Requirements and calls on the US to honour its commitments in order to create a world-wide level playing field for banks; believes that diverging approaches might hamper EU banks with US operations from setting up integrated-risk management systems;

31. Expresses dissatisfaction at the need for EU reinsurers in the US to fully collateralise risks, facing highly discriminatory State rules, which require them to overfund their liabilities by maintaining excessive levels of collateral (US accredited reinsurers operating in the US are subject to no such collateralisation requirements); calls on the competent US authorities to strive for further transatlantic mutual recognition and uniform solvency and reporting requirements;

32. Insists on the rapid convergence of de-listing rules in US stock markets, which currently impose onerous requirements on EU firms wishing to de-list; welcomes the recent US Securities Exchange Commission's proposal to consider trading volumes and not the number of shareholders as the main criterion; and asks the Commission to monitor these new developments to safeguard EU interests;

33. Believes in a more coherent corporate governance dialogue, and in the harmonisation of demands concerning corporate governance and supervision, avoiding extra-territoriality incidents such as "Sarbanes-Oxley", for instance by improving the Transatlantic Corporate Governance Dialogue; calls for closer joint EUUS scrutiny of global hedge funds;

34. Requests a Commission update on the application of the EU Savings Tax Directive as regards the USA;

Money laundering and terrorist financing cooperation

35. Notes that open markets are highly dependent on secure and reliable structures and that trust and confidence are vital to global trade relations; expresses its support for close EU-US collaboration to continue fighting corporate and financial fraud, money laundering and terrorist financing, while avoiding unnecessary disruption to normal commercial and private transactions;

Spurring innovation and the development of technology

36. Welcomes the aim to increase synergies across the Atlantic in a large number of crucial areas for the development of stronger knowledge-based economies;

37. Encourages the establishment of transatlantic research partnerships involving SMEs in joint research projects, and the adoption of measures to encourage the return of European researchers to Europe;

38. Points out that it is beneficial to both sides to promote co-operation in research and development and to pursue investment programmes, in, for example, the following fields:

(a) technologies for high-speed ground transport and in particular new types of highly efficient mass transit systems for urban development;

(b) the development of synthetic fuels and electric propulsion mechanisms for automobiles, trucks and buses, and the utilization of fuel cells and so on;

(c) the development of new technologies for the reduction of emissions of greenhouse gases;

39. Reminds, in this respect, Member States and the US of the commitment expressed by both sides in the Joint Declaration of 2003 on the promotion of the hydrogen economy and welcomes the progress made, but considers however that further collaboration is required;

40. Considers that information and communication technologies (ICT) are highly relevant for both economies; therefore recommends a series of joint measures in order to:

(a) encourage the deployment of key technologies such as broadband, radiofrequency identification devices and other innovative technologies, taking into account interoperability;

(b) secure networks and facilitate the flow of information while paying special attention to spam;

(c) ensure close cooperation between "cyber-security" agencies;

(d) address the high cost of roaming;

41. Believes that the seventh Framework Programme on Research and Development will present a unique opportunity for common action in:

(a) identifying priority areas of research collaboration in order to develop new transatlantic markets (e.g. hydrogen fuel cell technologies and nanotechnology);

(b) joint research in areas relevant to civil security and in the area of reliability of complex networked systems and the informational infrastructures underpinning information society technologies;

(c) encouraging strong co-operation between the European Research Council (ERC) and the National Science Foundation (NSF);

42. Considers that new and existing space programmes offer to a certain degree an opportunity for joint undertakings in the exploration of outer space, by:

(a) promoting co-operation in key areas such as earth observation, satellite navigation (as provided for by Galileo and GPS), electronic communication, space science and exploration;

(b) addressing regulatory barriers to the creation of a well-functioning transatlantic market for the space industry;

(c) removing unnecessary controls under the US International Traffic in Arms Regulations and liberalising the international launcher market;

43. Asks the Commission to suggest a joint malaria research programme in addition to already existing joint research on pandemic diseases;

44. Supports actions to enhance entrepreneurship and risk-taking in the EU, based on appropriate examples of US strengths in this area;

Enhancing Trade, Travel and Security

45. Notes that visa policy is now a policy of exclusive Community competence; asks the Commission to begin negotiations with the US Administration without delay in order to make the Visa Waiver Program valid for all European citizens and to remove current discrimination, in particular against the citizens of the new Member States;

46. Stresses that the cumbersome procedures for the acquisition of visas has translated into increased costs for companies and citizens; welcomes the "Trusted Person" initiative, which should be based on mutually developed standards, as a means to facilitate travel for business or tourist purposes;

47. Regrets that most EU citizens are still subject to strict visa controls, which acts as a brake on the free movement and exchange of workers and all those who have to travel to or stay in the US on business; calls on the US to show more flexibility in this regard, particularly for European citizens who travel regularly to the US on business;

Promoting Energy Efficiency

48. Recommends, given that energy policy is essential for economic development and cannot be separated from crucial geopolitical issues and foreign policy, that a more frank and open exchange be held on ways to increase openness in world energy commerce, promote renewable energy worldwide, develop closer cooperation with supplying partners and define a common energy security strategy and other policies to encourage geopolitical and economic stability in supplier and transit nations;

49. Regrets that only the EU is taking the lead on international climate policy, that the US is the world's largest emitter of greenhouse gases and that there is accordingly still a need to urge it, at all policy levels, to assume its responsibilities in terms of climate change; regrets therefore that the US Administration remains so reluctant to enter into any meaningful international partnership on climate change, but notes that it has taken a modest step forward, inasmuch as it is now willing, as agreed at the December 2005 Montreal Conference of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, to engage in a thorough forward-looking dialogue; welcomes the fact that an emerging coalition of interests in the US, including Members of Congress from both Houses and both parties, State legislators, local authorities, NGOs and representatives of the business community, is pushing for a more ambitious agenda to tackle greenhouse gas emissions;

50. Considers that the energy sector presents common challenges to both the EU and US and that although significant measures have been taken separately on both sides, the sector requires a mutually beneficial approach that seeks to:

(a) devise a common strategy addressing the high dependence on fossil energy sources via the implementation of concrete measures regarding energy efficiency, renewable energies and security of supply, both in terms of energy and also in the transport sector;

(b) develop clean Combined Heat and Power (CHP) and renewable technologies (e.g. carbon capture and storage and other low carbon technologies);

(c) after the Kyoto Protocol expires, encourage the US and economically-emerging, newly-industrialised countries such as China and India to develop, jointly with the EU, measures to achieve long-term and economically sustainable emissions reduction and to respond appropriately, taking account of cost and environmental issues, to the damage already caused by climate change;

(d) recognise the important role which nuclear power plays in providing carbon-free power and continue joint research into the development of this vital technology and ways in which it can facilitate the hydrogen economy;

(e) develop — together with the International Atomic Energy Agency — a common proposal for a multilateral framework for a global nuclear policy which enhances the security and prevents the misuse of nuclear material for military purposes;

(f) subsequently develop a common strategy, in relation both to other countries with large or fast-growing energy needs and to the producer countries;

51. Underlines the need for enhanced EU-US scientific cooperation on biofuels and recommends that the initiative for a joint EU-US biofuels work programme that focuses specifically on second generation bioethanol and biodiesel be implemented as soon as possible;

Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)

52. Welcomes the agreement at the EU-US Economic Ministerial Meeting to produce by the 2006 EU-US Summit an IPR enforcement cooperation strategy that will tackle IPR abuse and the lack of effective enforcement in third countries, China and Russia in particular, and that will improve customs and border enforcement cooperation, encourage public-private partnerships and coordinate technical assistance to third countries;

53. Regrets the lack of a common understanding on geographical indications; regrets that the co-existence of fundamentally different patent systems (the US with its "first-to-invent" system whilst the "first-to-file" system is followed by the rest of the world) continues to create considerable problems for EU companies; encourages the US Congress to pursue the reform of the patent system by moving toward a "first-to-file" system;

54. Encourages the EU and US to work together using appropriate channels to combat the abuse of IPR in third countries, in particular China and Russia;

Investment

55. Recommends that the 2006 Summit formally adopt a comprehensive inventory identifying the main remaining obstacles to mutual investment together with a list of the required specific actions to reduce or eliminate such obstacles in full coherence with the rules of the internal market, including the provisions related to public services and the precautionary principle;

56. Supports investment facilitation measures and the progressive removal of all transatlantic investment barriers through: the convergence of accounting standards; a level playing field in financial markets; a mutually fair competition policy; and the phasing out of the protectionist measures still present in certain sectors; questions the remaining ownership restrictions in the US, particularly in the defence and aviation sectors and supports the reform of the US Committee on Foreign Investments; calls for a Commission study to be undertaken into the barriers to takeovers in the internal market, which disadvantage EU versus US purchasers; calls on the Commission to ensure that proprietary restrictions in the EU cannot be used as an argument for upholding US restrictions;

Competition policy and enforcement

57. Requests the creation of a joint transatlantic framework on competition policy, which increases the co-ordination of enforcement activities and facilitates confidential information exchanges; insists that the equal application of competition rules on both sides of the Atlantic, regardless of country of establishment, is of the essence in order to create a competitive and unified transatlantic market;

58. Supports the objective of concluding a further competition agreement with the US which allows for the exchange of confidential information in investigations under EU and US competition laws;

Procurement

59. Recommends that the 2006 Summit formally adopt a comprehensive inventory of any legal, practical and technical barriers to cross-border procurement between both partners, together with a list of measures to address them; that takes into account the particular case of services of general interest; encourages both partners to go beyond existing and future GPA-commitments, thus making it possible, on the one hand, to widen the field of opportunities for both parties and, on the other, to boost European competitiveness and create new markets for EU businesses, particularly SMEs;

60. Supports a strengthening of cooperation between the EU and the USA concerning the opening of the public procurements market; stresses that the adoption of equal conditions of competition in this sector will create new opportunities for EU undertakings and especially SMEs;

61. Regrets the fact that the US maintains a wide variety of discriminatory "Buy America" provisions to which others are also being added; more specifically, regrets that it is still difficult for European defence firms to do business in the US defence market and to acquire US defence-related technology, due to the absence of a genuine transatlantic "two-way street" in defence procurement and in the defence sector more generally; asks the US Congress to accept the reality of the transatlantic economy, even in security-related markets;

Services/ Mutual Recognition of qualifications

62. Notes that only the guild of architects has encouraged the competent authorities on both sides to look into the mutual recognition of qualifications as part of the Work Programme; acknowledges that other professions seem to prefer to handle recognition procedures amongst partner associations in the EU and the US; asks the Commission to report to the relevant Committees of the European Parliament about existing barriers to mutual recognition of qualifications on both sides;

63. Notes that large differences still exist between the States of the US as regards the horizontal recognition of diplomas and professional qualifications, which discourages further development in the transatlantic market, particularly in the services sector; urges the Commission to initiate negotiations in specific sectors, such as pilot licences, with a view to the conclusion of agreements; and urges the US to develop a system based on the European model whereby nearly all diplomas and professional qualifications are mutually recognised among States as it is the case within the EU's internal market;

Services/Air Transport Services

64. Welcomes recent progress in the negotiations for the liberalisation of EU-US air services and stresses the need to reach, as soon as possible, a full agreement based on reciprocity that solves the issue of ownership caps in US airlines;

65. Maintains that, since trade and tourism are vital to both sides, the Transatlantic Partnership Agreement to be concluded in 2007 must, without fail, include a separate chapter on transport policy supplemented by summits, meetings between the members of the US Congressional and European Parliamentary committees responsible for transport, meetings between the US Transportation Secretary and the competent EU Commissioner, and Commission officials, along with cooperation between agencies responsible for air safety and the appropriate bodies of the federal administration;

WTO Dispute Settlement EU/US

66. Insists that although WTO panels can provoke considerable political friction, trade or economic disputes are a natural component of the transatlantic economic relationship;

67. Recommends a common strategy based on three points to reduce the number of disputes between the largest world trading powers that spill over onto the wider WTO arena:

(a) a formal commitment at the highest level to respect agreed multilateral trade rules and to implement swiftly and fully WTO panel decisions;

(b) enhanced political commitment to exhaust all bilateral diplomatic means before appealing to the WTO dispute settlement mechanism, taking into account the need to protect the legitimate interest of operators and traders;

(c) both partners must recognise that legislators and governments have a legitimate right to protect the health and environment of their citizens, but the EU and the US must ensure that their regulations in these fields are non-discriminatory, proportionate and science-based in order to prevent protectionist abuses while remaining in accordance with internal regulations and the precautionary principle;

68. Asks the Commission to submit to the European Parliament a report evaluating the advantages and disadvantages of a more formal bilateral trade dispute settlement mechanism, bearing in mind similar existing arrangements between the EU and other third countries;

69. Notes that the methodology used by the US authorities on trade defence-related matters is, in some instances, an illegitimate trade barrier and stresses that the apparently protectionist application of US trade defence instruments has already, as in the case of the so-called "Byrd Amendment" or the US steel safeguards, been challenged successfully — and not only by the EU — within the WTO dispute settlement system;

70. Welcomes the "Deficit Reduction Act 2005" passed by the US Congress, which repeals the "Byrd Amendment", but regrets that, due to a transition clause, the repeal will not be effective immediately; calls therefore on the US Congress to urgently remove the transition clause so that the distribution of collected anti-dumping and anti-subsidy duties to US companies does not continue to distort the conditions of competition on the US market at the expense of imported goods for a number of years;

71. Reiterates its concern about the significant direct and indirect government support given to US industry, by means of direct subsidies, protective legislation and tax policies; stresses, in particular, that all the reports by the WTO Panel and the Appellate Body on the Foreign Sales Corporations (FSC) scheme have concluded that, despite some major changes to its legislation, the US has yet to fully abide by previous WTO rulings and the recommendations of the WTO Dispute Settlement Body (DSB); calls therefore on the US Congress to bring the American Jobs Creation Act (Jobs Act), which contains a "Grandfathering Clause", into full compliance with previous WTO rulings and DSB recommendations;

72. Welcomes the fact that the long-standing "Foreign Sales Corporations (FSC)" dispute has come to an end with the repeal by the US Congress of the WTO-incompatible corporate tax breaks for US companies contained in the American Jobs Creation Act;

73. Regrets, with regard to the Airbus-Boeing case, that the US and the EU are unnecessarily engaged in probably the biggest, most complicated and costly legal dispute in the WTO's history; calls on both parties to increase consultations at the highest level in order to explore ways of reaching a pragmatic solution that avoids unnecessary recourse to the WTO;

74. Stresses that the WTO case on GMOs does not in any way call into question European legislation on the market authorisation of biotech products, but concerns outdated biotech assessment procedures that have already been revised since the initiation of the Panel proceedings;

75. Welcomes the EU decision to comply with the WTO ruling by modifying its legislation on hormones as of 2003; wishes that the persistent disagreement between the US (and Canada) and the EU on the continued application of counter-measures be resolved and urges the US to lift the trade sanctions that it has applied since 1999 against European products;

76. Regrets that the US has not yet abandoned its anti-dumping methodology known as "zeroing", despite the fact that the WTO unambiguously condemned this practice in the bed linen case;

77. Emphasises that the WTO dispute settlement system is a central element in providing security and predictability to the multilateral trading system; expresses its concern that in some cases the US has adopted an approach inconsistent with its international obligations by applying or refusing to repeal laws which are in breach of WTO obligations and result in serious damage to the EU and third countries' industries; calls, therefore, on the US Congress to improve its record of compliance with WTO dispute settlement findings;

Other global issues

78. Regrets that co-operation on monetary and macroeconomic policy issues is not included in the Economic Initiative and Work Programme; reiterates its concern about the potentially dangerous impact of the large dual US federal budget and current account deficit on the global economy; calls therefore upon the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve to co-operate more closely on global monetary policy and financial stability issues;

79. Reiterates its call for the transatlantic partners to jointly re-assess their development aid and humanitarian assistance strategies and instruments, including their co-ordination with the Bretton Woods institutions, so as to improve the effectiveness, coherence and complementarity of the EU and US response to global challenges, notably poverty reduction, communicable diseases and degradation of the environment;

80. Asks the Commission to evaluate the existing funding and programming mechanisms to finance EUUS joint programmes in third countries with a view to creating a more efficient and productive procedure;

81. Considers that the "cultural key" can help to enhance transatlantic relations and thus serve to foster partnership and mutual comprehension between Europeans and Americans;

82. Calls on the EU and US to take account, in their economic relations, of the role and special features of the culture and education sectors;

83. Calls, therefore, for the establishment of a transatlantic dialogue on the subject of culture (including the audiovisual sector) and education which will encourage regular exchanges of good practice and past experience, particularly with regard to:

(a) action to combat piracy and counterfeiting,

(b) introducing better legal methods of distributing audio and audiovisual content over the Internet and ensuring their compatibility with copyright and authors' rights and remuneration,

(c) awareness of the US and EU cinematic heritage — especially awareness of European films in America, where they are less widely shown — as a means of promoting mutual understanding;

(d) measures to promote more balanced film distribution and prevent unfair competition or abuse of a dominant market position in certain markets within the EU together with the removal of any "de jure" or "de facto" barriers to the distribution of European audiovisual material in the US;

(e) the establishment of suitable mechanisms to develop and strengthen cultural tourism between the two continents;

84. With regard to education, calls for the dialogue to focus, in particular, on:

(a) enhancing mutual recognition of professional qualifications, particularly in the arts disciplines, with a view to facilitating the mobility of "cultural players" and exchanges of artists and performers,

(b) promoting research and exchanges by university teachers, research staff and students in fields which help to consolidate economic and scientific relations between the EU and the US, bearing in mind in particular their cooperation programme in higher education and vocational education and training [16];

(c) awareness of the importance of a knowledge-based society and the consolidation of life-long learning;

85. Mindful of Articles 133 and 151 of the EC Treaty, considers that the special nature of the audiovisual sector makes it essential for transatlantic exchanges to take place on the basis of respect for the EU's cultural and linguistic diversity: calls, in this regard, for the implementation of suitable measures to promote cultural diversity and step up cultural exchanges;

86. Calls on the European institutions to raise the awareness of their US partners regarding measures by the EU in support of the Unesco Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions;

87. Stresses the importance of focusing on data protection issues in the context of transatlantic relations; notes, in view of the lack of data protection in transatlantic exchanges in certain respects, that it is appropriate to evaluate those areas in which the exchange of information with third countries appears to work well (such as the Safe Harbour Privacy Principles) in order to disseminate successful solutions to more areas;

88. Welcomes the recent study conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) into the macroeconomic benefits of promoting further economic integration between the EU and the US, estimating the gains in GDP per capita of significant reductions in the barriers to market access, foreign direct investment and trade in the EU and the US at 2 to 3,5 per cent and 1 to 3 per cent respectively;

89. Requests that the EU carry out a more detailed and comprehensive study that: (a) identifies the consequences of removing remaining tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and investment between the EU and the US;(b) examines across the board the potential for, as appropriate, ex ante or ex post regulatory alignment;(c) evaluates the impact of EU-US regulatory alignment or convergence on third countries;(d) examines the feasibility of a "regulatory bridge" according to which once a good or service is approved, it becomes acceptable everywhere in the transatlantic market;

Transatlantic dialogues

90. Stresses the importance of the transatlantic dialogues in fostering ties between the EU and the US; notes that by working on major issues within their respective areas, and making valuable contributions to the shaping of the transatlantic relationship, its objectives and activities, the dialogues are closely involved in transatlantic decision-making and help to ensure that efforts in the various fields are genuinely responsive to the real needs of citizens;

91. Notes that the Transatlantic Legislators Dialogue (TLD) has helped to strengthen interparliamentary relations between the EU and the US; reiterates the need to build synergies between the TLD and the other NTA dialogues, inter alia by launching new jointly-funded programmes for exchanges between legislative staffers and by creating a small TLD secretariat;

92. Stresses that the 61st Meeting of the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue, held in Vienna on 18- 21 April 2006, reaffirmed the enormous advantages for our constituents that could result from the removal of barriers impeding transatlantic economic relations and noted that the relationship between the United States and the European Union should be renewed by replacing its current structure with an EU/US Partnership Agreement;

93. Takes note of the fact that the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) has successfully reshaped its format to provide more efficient business input with a view to strengthening the economic partnership;

94. Stresses that both sides of the Transatlantic Labour Dialogue should become more proactive and visible in shaping responses and recommendations on common issues; recommends that the Transatlantic Labour Dialogue focus on critical areas of cooperation through a more sector-oriented approach;

95. Notes that the EU-US Science and Technology Agreement is a key instrument for advancing EU-US scientific relations; calls for the creation of an official transatlantic research dialogue to promote and coordinate research collaboration and new initiatives in selected scientific fields that go beyond existing structures;

96. Notes that other transatlantic dialogues existing outside the official agreements also contribute to foster ties between the EU and the US; recommends that the current structure of the transatlantic dialogues be reviewed and new promising areas for enhanced cooperation be explored;

The Role of the European Parliament

97. Stresses that while the tasks mapped out in the Economic Initiative concern the regulators first and foremost, in order to achieve an integrated transatlantic market, the active involvement of the legislatures on both sides is also desirable; stresses that EU-US Summits should incorporate an adequate level of parliamentary participation to provide parliamentary input into this administrative process led by the two executives; calls for a meeting prior to every summit between the TLD and the Senior-Level Group to exchange views on the progress of the Work Programme;

98. Calls for a meeting prior to every summit between the TLD and the Senior-Level Group to exchange views on relevant economic issues and in particular on the progress of the Work Programme;

99. Recommends that at least the President of the European Parliament and US Congressional leaders participate in the next EU-US summit and, as a general rule, that the European Parliament and the US Congress be associated with the preparation and actual holding of all future EU-US summit meetings;

100. Welcomes efforts aimed at strengthening the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue (TLD) between the European Parliament and the US Congress including, in particular, the implementation of an effective "early warning" mechanism and a reporting system between parliamentary committees on both sides of the Atlantic;

101. Asks the House of Representatives to consider setting up a permanent delegation in order to ensure continuity to the TLD; furthermore, a regular dialogue should also be instituted between the European Parliament and the US Senate;

102. Calls on its relevant committee to use the budget for 2007 to provide the necessary funds for establishing a permanent European Parliament official post in Washington DC that ensures proper institutionalisation of Parliament's own activities and allows for improved liaison between the EP and the US Congress;

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103. Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council and the Commission, the governments and parliaments of the Member States and the President and Congress of the United States of America.

[1] Signed at the EU-US Summit in Madrid.

[2] Joint statement adopted at the EU-US Summit in London.

[3] Signed at the EU-US Summit in Bonn.

[4] Agreed at the EU-US Summit in Washington.

[5] JO C 124 E, 25.5.2006, p. 556.

[6] OJ C 34 E, 7.2.2002, p. 359.

[7] OJ C 177 E, 25.7.2002, p. 288.

[8] OJ C 180 E, 31.7.2003, p. 392.

[9] OJ C 69 E, 19.3.2004, p. 124.

[10] OJ C 104 E, 30.4.2004, p. 1043.

[11] OJ C 247 E, 6.10.2005, p. 151.

[12] Signed at the EU-US Summit in Shannon, 25- 26 June 2004.

[13] Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2005)0461.

[14] Texts Adopted, P6_TA(2006)0238.

[15] Daniel S. HAMILTON/Joseph P. QUINLAN (eds.) Deep Integration: How Transatlantic Markets are Leading Globalization. June 2005; Francisco CABRILLO, Jaime GARCÍA-LEGAZ and Pedro SCHWARTZ, A case for an open Atlantic Prosperity Area, FAES, 2006.

[16] OJ L71 of 13.3.2001, p. 8.

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