TITLE

TRANSATLANTIC REGULATORY COOPERATION: A POSSIBLE ROLE FOR CONGRESS

AUTHOR(S)
Ahearn, Raymond J.; Morelli, Vincent
PUB. DATE
March 2011
SOURCE
Current Politics & Economics of Europe;2011, Vol. 22 Issue 1, p141
SOURCE TYPE
Academic Journal
DOC. TYPE
Article
ABSTRACT
The United States and the European Union (EU) share a comprehensive, dynamic, and mutually beneficial economic relationship. Transatlantic markets are among the most open in the world and are deeply integrated. The current global economic crisis has begun to have a significant negative impact on the transatlantic economy. Nevertheless, the great stake each side has had in the other's economy affords both sides the ability to withstand each other's current economic downturn. The key measure of the strength of the transatlantic relationship could be the ability of both sides to work with each other to weather the current financial storm. One issue that has worked against a stronger economic relationship is the existence of regulatory barriers that limit an even more integrated market from materializing. The United States and the EU have engaged in a number of attempts to reduce remaining non-tariff and regulatory barriers to trade. In the most recent effort, then President Bush and German Chancellor Merkel, serving as President of the EU, at the April 2007 U.S.-EU Summit agreed to establish the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC). The TEC was directed to "advance the work of reducing or eliminating non-tariff barriers to transatlantic commerce and trade." The leaders also created an advisory group to "provide guidance and direction" to the TEC and invited the U.S. Congress, along with the European Parliament, to accept a new, more substantive role in transatlantic regulatory cooperation by becoming part of the advisory group. The Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue (TLD) was appointed to represent the legislatures in the TEC advisory group. Since it began nearly two decades ago, transatlantic regulatory cooperation has been mostly limited to the executive branches and regulatory bodies on both sides of the Atlantic. However, the idea of legislators assuming a more proactive role in transatlantic economic and regulatory cooperation is not a new issue. At the 1995 launch of the New Transatlantic Agenda, the leaders of the United States and EU acknowledged that they "attached great importance to enhanced parliamentary links" and agreed to "consult with parliamentary leaders on both sides of the Atlantic regarding consultation mechanisms, including building on existing institutions, to discuss matters related to our transatlantic partnership." Advocates of the effort to achieve a more barrier-free transatlantic marketplace believe that ultimate success cannot be achieved without the strong commitment and active engagement of the U.S. Congress and the European Parliament. Although the. Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue has been in existence since 1999, there appears to be a lack of familiarity with its structure, membership, and function. With respect to its role in the TEC process, several questions have been raised including the make up of the TLD, the role of the standing committees in both the Congress and the Parliament, the staff, and the role of the U.S. Senate. A number of options for reform have been proposed. This report provides background and analysis on the TEC process, the role of the Congress, and the TLD. For additional information see CRS Report RL34717, Transatlantic Regulatory Cooperation: Background and Analysis, by Raymond J. Ahearn, and CRS Report RL30608, EU-U.S. Economic Ties: Framework, Scope, and Magnitude, by William H. Cooper.
ACCESSION #
59360727

 

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