Committee on International Relations
U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515-0128

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In BRIEF
Highlights of remarks by Congressman Henry Hyde
to the Chicago Conference on the Global Economy

The Atlantic Marketplace

The collapse of the Cancun ministerial has highlighted the deep fissures that impede progress toward a global trade accord. We cannot allow our interests in other areas of the economy, such as manufacturing and services, to become hostage to the deadlock over agricultural issues.

Our focus on temporary political differences with some countries in Europe should not blind us to our mutual and enduring economic interests.

The Bush Administration’s trade agenda (global - the Doha Round - and bilateral and regional agreements in Latin America and elsewhere) should include expanded cooperation with the European Union aimed at closer cooperation in global trade initiatives and at creating an open economic relationship that is oriented to eliminating existing and potential protectionist measures between them, an Atlantic Marketplace.

As developed economies, the U.S. and Europe share an array of concerns, including the widespread loss of jobs in manufacturing to countries that have significant trade distorting practices, such as China’s undervalued currency and high tariffs.

Europe and the U.S. should level the playing field with China and other countries with distorted trade practices by redoubling efforts to reduce worldwide tariffs on all merchandise to a maximum level of 8 percent by 2010 and then to zero by 2015.

Two-way trade between the U.S. and countries of the European Union - advanced economies of comparable wealth and development - exceeded $1 trillion in 2002.

Even as existing barriers to trade between the U.S. and Europe are being dismantled, considerably less attention is given to preventing new barriers from arising to take their place, particularly regulatory obstacles.

The U.S. and Europe must act to create an Atlantic Marketplace, a broad and open economic relationship, a key feature of which would be to halt the emergence of competing and often incompatible regulatory standards throughout both economies that impose an increasingly heavy and needless burden on businesses that seek to operate in both markets.

Regulatory authorities and standard-setting bodies in both the U.S. and Europe must establish closer cooperation with one another at the working level to forestall the emergence of differences in regulation before they become fossilized. Areas of early focus should include environmental and health related sectors, intellectual property, banking, insurance, electronic commerce and telecommunications.