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01 June 2011

EU- USA regulatory dialogue

The EU - USA regulatory dialogue is a topic not yet covered by this blog, but well worth checking out for its technical content. A DG Enterprise webpage traces the history and goals of the dialogue (since 1998), launched on the basis that "Regulatory barriers have long been recognised as the most significant impediment to trade and investment between the EU and the USA... a more integrated and streamlined transatlantic regulatory environment would significantly reduce costs for producers and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic and improve the competitive potential of EU and US companies in the global economy." Both the European Union and the United States run a number of regulatory dialogues.
The EU-USA dialogue takes a practical turn at the meetings of the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum, which is convened at irregular intervals, and where partners discuss burning trade issues but also exchange best practice concerning regulatory reform methodologies or compare notes on current issues (example reponses to the financial crisis.) For an example of proceedings, see report of the 2008 meeting in Washington).
The framework agreement has spawned more specialised streams, such as the the financial markets regulatory dialogue (for EC point of view see 2004 paper) which aims to foster a better mutual understanding of EU and US regulatory approaches; to identify potential conflicts in approach as early in the regulatory process as possible; and to discuss regulatory issues of mutual interest. Other sectoral dialogues (15) include Automotive industries, Chemicals, RTT and Insurance.
Recent news: owing to the interests at stake, the dialogue is lively: yesterday, Commissioner for internal markets and services Michel Barnier was putting pressure on his US counterparts, according to a Financial Times news item. Mr. Barnier stated that even though the pair had jointly declared their commitment to introduce a number of regulatory initiatives, the EU has overtaken its counterpart in areas such as capital requirements and putting curbs on banker bonuses. "The level playing field must be a reality, not an empty slogan," he is reported to have written in the letter, sent on 27 May. Mr. Barnier's concerns rest with the US's reluctance to fully adopt banking standard Basel II, fearing that the country could take a similar stance with its successor, Basel III.

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