US Catalogs EU Trade Policy ''Concerns''
Transparency, enlargement, intellectual property, and subsidies top the list
GENEVA, Switzerland - 10/26/04 - The US posed a number of questions reflecting its concerns on enlargement, regulation, services, subsidies, and trade agreements at yesterday's World Trade Organization (WTO) review of European Community trade policy.
US concerns should be viewed "within the context of a positive and thriving US-EU trade relationship," Linnet Deily, the US Permanent Representative to the World Trade Organization and Deputy US Trade Representative, told the review session in Geneva.
"Many US queries have to do with the implications of EU enlargement on the bloc's trade policies and the access of non-EU trading partners to the enlarged market," she said.
"The United States remains concerned about the European Union's response on WTO issues related to its enlargement, and in particular its need to provide for adequate compensation in the areas of tariffs and services," she added.
The US is the EU's largest trading partner, and depending on the data series, the EU stands out as the country's first or second largest trade partner.
According to recent estimates, the value of two-way trade between the two amounts to roughly $1 billion a day with the jobs of some 12-14 million people on both sides of the Atlantic directly impacted by US-EU business and investment flows.
"As in past reviews, the role of non-tariff barriers and regulatory issues in EU trade policy is of great importance to the United States," said Deily. "As we look to the future of the enormous US-EU trade relationship, we believe that our principal challenges will lie in confronting the trade implications of regulatory measures adopted by the EU institutions."
Among the specific issues Deily addressed in her comments were regulations, intellectual property rights, biotechnology, and government subsidies.
The EU, she said, "needs to do more to increase transparency and access to its increasingly complex regulatory and trade policy process," expressing "particular concern about the new regulatory regime for chemicals called REACH and the EU's rules for wine labeling."
Deily also noted an apparent conflict between a European Council regulation and the national treatment obligation under the TRIPS [trade-related aspects of intellectual property rights] agreement.
Regarding biotechnology, she expressed Washington's disappointment that "the EU appears determined to implement a mandatory labeling and traceability scheme for biotechnology products that will pose a new barrier to the development of this promising technology."
She also expressed Washington's concern about the "level and nature of state aid and subsidies" to European industries, the reform of the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), and the EU's expanding network of preferential trade arrangements with third countries.
While praising the Brussels-based European Commission report explaining the "mechanics" of EU trade policy formulation, Deily said the document "did not comment extensively enough on whether non-EU parties have a meaningful opportunity to influence the outcome of regulatory decisions."
Washington, she said, has concluded that "the EU needs to do more to increase transparency and access to its increasingly complex regulatory and trade policy process."
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