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EU-US: Trade Commissioner to visit Washington DC

EU-US: Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson to visit Washington DC, 9-11 February

EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson today begins a visit to the United States. Mr Mandelson will meet with United States Trade Representative Robert Zoellick. He will also meet with US Secretary of the Treasury John Snow, Secretary of Commerce Carlos Gutierrez and Congressional and Senate leaders. On Friday he will give a speech to the US Chamber of Commerce on trade and transatlantic relations. The visit, which is Mr Mandelson’s first visit to Washington as EU Trade Commissioner, comes at a time of intense activity in transatlantic relationship. It is expected to focus on moves to deepen the EU-US trading relationship and on the best way to achieve an ambitious result in the ongoing Doha round of international trade talks.

Speaking before his departure Mr Mandelson said: “This is a time of renewal in transatlantic relations. Trade and investment are the bedrock of transatlantic relations and our trading relationship is almost entirely dispute free. The EU and the US need to offer joint global leadership. In the Doha round of international trade talks, both the EU and the US must work for ambitious agreement that achieves greater market access on services, industrial products and agriculture and delivers clear benefits for developing countries”.

Following the decision at the EU-US Summit in June 2004 to define a new strategy to strengthen the economic relationship between the European Union and the United States, the Commission wants to bring new momentum to the process. The Commission sees potential for strengthened trade relations through regulatory convergence. Mr Mandelson said: “Businesses on both sides of the Atlantic have told us that concrete moves on regulatory convergence could unlock the potential of the transatlantic trading relationship even further. That is the kind of practical and realistic agenda I want to focus on in Washington.”

Background

The EU-US trading relationship is the largest in the world. It is almost 98% dispute free. In 2002 the total amount of two-way investment amounted to more than 1.5 trillion euros. The ‘transatlantic workforce’ – jobs directly or indirectly linked to the trading relationship – is estimated to number 12 to 14 million. In the US, 7 million workers owe their jobs directly or indirectly to EU companies.

In 2003, the EU exported 220 billion euros of goods and 115 billion euros of services to the US. This is 22.6% of total EU exports in goods. The US exported 151 billion euro in goods and 109 billion euro in services to the EU.


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