On Tuesday, Secretary Bryson and other U.S. government officials had a valuable conversation with senior European Union (EU) leaders on ways to cooperate and achieve the Obama administration’s National Export Initiative (NEI) goals. Since the EU is America’s largest trading partner, they are key to meeting the ambitious goal of doubling exports by the end of 2014.
The economic relationship between the EU and the United States is the largest and most dynamic in the world. The combined gross domestic product accounts for more than $30 trillion – roughly 40 percent of global GDP – and more than 800 million consumers. In 2010, bilateral trade in goods and services surpassed $873 billion. With this relationship so vital, in April 2007 the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) was established to provide Cabinet-level political guidance for implementation of specific work programs like intellectual property rights protection and regulatory cooperation.
Tuesday’s discussions made it clear that both the United States and the EU recognize innovation to be the main driving force for continuing this economic success and creating more jobs. In his comments, Secretary Bryson noted that the innovations created through the partnerships of American and European companies can be a greater catalyst for new jobs than innovation done without such collaboration. The Commerce Department is currently working tirelessly in that vein, developing transatlantic links between companies and research centers.
The TEC discussions also highlighted the need for bilateral efforts to avoid the creation of unnecessary regulatory and standards barriers to trade in emerging sectors that hold the most promise for U.S. exporters. Small- and medium-sized enterprises describe diverging regulations and standards as one of their biggest challenges to innovation. The Commerce Department recently requested views from the private sector on what needs to be done in this area and were told that more work needs to be done on key emerging technologies. Ultimately, both the EU and the United States will develop ideas for hurdling such barriers to trade and will continue to work with their respective private sectors to come up with the information needed to regulate in a way that continues to encourage the kind of innovation and entrepreneurship that will drive economic growth and job creation.