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Diplomacy in Action

Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC) Facilitators Report to Stakeholders


Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
April 12, 2013

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TEC facilitators (DG Trade Demarty, DUSTR Sapiro and Acting State A/S for Europe Doherty) met on April 12, 2013, to review progress on the TEC workstreams and identify areas for further work in 2013. The meeting was also attended by a large number of representatives of the various U.S. government agencies and Commission services involved in the work of the TEC[1]. Facilitators confirmed that the TEC is a valuable tool for increasing transatlantic economic integration that complements other bilateral initiatives, such as the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum (HLRCF) and the Energy Council. Participants reiterated the intention to continue with TEC workstreams and will recommend to TEC Co-chairs that the TEC meet in the fall 2013. Below is a description of the accomplishments and planned work for 2013 reviewed during the meeting.

eMobility

Both the EU and the United States have shared interest in the rapid development of cost-efficient solutions to E-mobility, which is one of the most rapidly growing and highly innovative areas of the transatlantic market. In his last State of the Union speech, President Obama set the objective of reaching one million E-vehicles in the United States by 2015. The European Commission reaffirmed its commitment to promote the development and deployment of electric vehicles in the recent CARS 2020 Action Plan and several EU Member States have put forward national plans to that effect, as well.

In 2011 the TEC Principals endorsed a comprehensive E-mobility Work Plan setting out short- and medium term objectives for e-mobility aiming to promote greater alignment in this area, promote electric vehicle/smart-grid interoperability, and encourage continued scientific exchange. TEC Principals identified more focused cooperation on the development of globally-relevant, voluntary e-vehicle standards, global technical regulations in the UNECE, and battery safety and transport as key elements of the Work Plan.

Since the adoption of the Work Plan, the United States and the EU have made significant progress on a number of its elements, particularly in standardization and pre-normative research cooperation. Cooperation between standards development bodies has led to a joint list of priorities (including coupler safety and interoperability, EV safety and vehicle-grid communication). TEC Facilitators welcomed the fruitful discussions at the ANSI and CEN/CENELEC E-Mobility Roundtable in November 2012 at which Roundtable facilitators encouraged standardisers to further strengthen their cooperation frameworks, through practical exchanges between technical committees and coordination if work agendas where possible. TEC Facilitators also noted their interest in receiving input from standardisers on how governments could further assist this cooperation.

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the EU's Joint Research Centre (JRC) are in the process of establishing two Electric Vehicle - Smart Grid Interoperability Centres that advance transatlantic collaboration on testing methods, standardization and interoperability. The laboratories have agreed to a work-plan to that effect. DOE’s Argonne National Laboratory and the JRC Institute for Energy and Transport in Ispra, Italy are working to align testing of E-vehicles and smart grid equipment. An extension of this cooperation is already under preparation. Facilitators welcomed this progress and encourage researchers to look into how to further widen the scope of this cooperation.

As the set-up of the Interoperability Centers is well underway, input from the business community is crucial to ensure progress is made in relevant noted priority areas. Facilitators welcomed the meeting in the Ispra facilities on 9 April 2013 with business stakeholders and encouraged also standardisers to make use of the research centres.

With regard to the United Nations’ globally harmonized regulations, the United States and EU proposed the development of harmonized regulations for electric vehicles and formed two working groups under the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Europe, one dealing with safety and the other with the environment. Japan and China agreed to co-sponsor and co-chair the regulations. The process is expected to be completed in 2014. Facilitators encouraged their experts to continue this cooperation.

Supply Chain/Secure Trade

Secure Trade is a major work stream in the TEC process and an area where cooperation has brought concrete results in 2012 and is bringing real benefits to traders on both sides of the Atlantic.

Three important successes in 2012 include : 1) Signing and implementation of Mutual Recognition decision on U.S. and EU "trusted traders" programs; 2) Mutual Recognition of U.S. and EU air cargo security practices in airports; and 3) Mutual Recognition of U.S. and EU seaport security practices. A notable success has been the high number of registrations of trusted traders (over 5000 only in the EU since its entry into force). Also recognition arrangements for air cargo security extend to Switzerland and separate arrangements are being considered with Norway and Iceland. Another success came at the October 2012 Universal Postal Union (UPU) Congress which allowed the amendment of the UPU Convention to introduce the principle of advance electronic data provision for postal consignments.

Facilitators welcomed this significant progress. Further action is planned on the implementation of those agreements (i.e. joint working methodologies for implementation) while further areas of cooperation in Secure Trade include: a) Air Cargo Advanced Screening (ACAS); b) Technology (e.g. new scanning and screening); c) Risk Management; and d) Explosive Pre-cursor Chemicals.

Raw Materials

Transatlantic cooperation in the area of raw materials has made significant progress since the last TEC meeting. Facilitators highlighted the on-going public-private sector activities on the TEC Raw Materials Roadmap which is based on five pillars: 1) Trade Cooperation; 2) Raw Materials Data, Flows & Information Sharing; 3) Resource Efficiency; and 4), Research and Development in substitution, product design; and 5) Waste Shipments. Facilitators also underlined that raw materials is going to continue to be a prominent issue in the TEC and stakeholders are encouraged to provide further input and engage actively on the five issue areas.

Two conferences relating to data flows and recycling took place in 2012 (TABD-RGIT Conference on Best Practices in Management & Stewardship of Used Electronics in Washington, DC and a workshop on Mineral Raw Material Flows & Data in Brussels).

Following up on an October 2012 TABD sponsored conference on management and stewardship of used electronics EU and the United States have started to reflect on possible cooperation initiatives in this area. Facilitators welcomed that an additional trilateral conference on research and development between the EU, the United States and Japan is planned for May 2013 in Brussels under the tentative theme “Towards new models in efficient management of critical materials.” Facilitators welcome the good cooperation between scientists and look forward to learn about the results of the May Conference and its contribution to furthering TEC objectives in the area of raw materials.

Facilitators also welcomed the good cooperation between scientists and engineers. They look forward to learn about the results of the May Conference and the workshop on raw materials flows and data scheduled to be held in November 2013 at the U.S. Geological Survey and their contributions to furthering TEC objectives in the area of raw materials.

eHealth

Both the EU and the United States recognise the potential of E-health to contribute to meeting global health policy challenges. The 2011 TEC meeting reiterated the importance of health-related ICT in promoting individual and community health while fostering innovation and economic growth.

After successful conferences on eHealth in Copenhagen in May 2012 and the Transatlantic Health IT/eHealth Cooperation Assembly in Boston in October 2012, the EU-U.S. road map on eHealth was launched on March 22, 2013, by U.S. (HHS) and EU officials (DG Connect). The roadmap will promote the creation of an innovative collaborative community of public- and private-sector entities, including suppliers of eHealth solutions. Main aims of the roadmap include developing standards for transnational interoperability of electronic health records (EHRs) and developing a joint curriculum for the training of skilled workforce to administer health IT technology. The roadmap is designed to be a “living” document and on-going input from industry and stakeholders is welcome. A 'Call to Action' for stakeholders will soon be issued on a dedicated web-site. In addition, thought leaders and champions from both the EU and the United States will be identified to help guide the Standards Development and Workforce Development cooperative Roadmap action plans.

The next EU eHealth week conference will take place on May 13-15 in Dublin, Ireland, and a specific day will be devoted to the transatlantic cooperation in this area. This event will present the first opportunity to review progress in the implementation of the MoU Roadmap and to 'fine-tune' both work-streams. Another event with stakeholders is planned for the end of October, in Boston, on October 23-24, 2013.

Facilitators welcomed the significant progress achieved in this work stream and identified E-health as one of the areas where transatlantic cooperation will bring concrete benefits. Facilitators urged to ensure a rapid implementation of the roadmap and to ensure active engagement by industry and other interested stakeholders. Facilitators also asked for a status report on the implementation of the roadmap to be provided by the next TEC meeting.

SMEs

Both the EU and the United States recognise SMEs as critical motors of growth and job creation and key sources of innovation. Since 2010, the TEC has included a specific work stream so as to enhance transatlantic cooperation to increase trade and investment opportunities for U.S. and EU SMEs. Since then a number of workshops have taken place to exchange best practices and find other collaborative ways to fulfil that aim.

Two successful conferences to enhance transatlantic cooperation on SMEs were held in Rome in July 2012 and in Washington, DC, in December 2012. In these events, participants considered options to further promote trade and investment opportunities in each other’s markets but also practical support aimed at helping them access international markets. Issues such as access to financing, entrepreneurship programmes, IPR, standards and clusters were part of the discussions. A very significant outcome of this cooperation was the May 2012 signature by EU Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani and Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank in Washington, D.C., of a Letter of Intent to develop a framework for SME cooperation between the International Trade Administration and DG Enterprise’s Enterprise Europe Network. The Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Director General for Enterprise and Industry Daniel Calleja and International Trade Administration’s Assistant Secretary for Market Access and Compliance Michael Camuñez at the December workshop.

Facilitators confirmed that transatlantic cooperation on SMEs is a joint priority that should bring concrete benefits to SMEs. They welcomed the recent establishment of the MOU Working Group made up of representatives from both organizations and urged to quickly identify potential programs and activities focusing on bringing SMEs from both sides of the Atlantic together. Facilitators also welcomed the holding of an additional SMEs related workshop in Brussels in the course of 2013 with a view to identify further areas of possible cooperation.

Intellectual Property Rights

The Transatlantic IPR Working Group (TIPRWG) coordinates in three main areas under the U.S.-EU IPR Action Strategy: engagement on IPR issues in third countries and multilateral institutions, customs cooperation, and public-private partnerships. The Working Group met most recently in July 2012 for its annual meeting, which consisted of a day of government-to-government meetings and a day of stakeholder consultations from both the business community and civil society. In addition, the Working Group meets on a bi-monthly basis via digital video conference to further strengthen our ongoing cooperation and to share updates on key IPR-related developments.

Facilitators welcomed, the Working Group’s accomplishment’s over the past year, which included coordinating efforts to resolve issues in third-countries, with a primary focus on emerging economies such as Brazil, China, India, Russia and Ukraine. The United States and the EU also continued to work cooperatively to advance common objectives within multilateral forums such as the WTO, OECD and the UN, with the aim of ensuring a strong and effective protection and enforcement of IPR, as well as addressing concerns linked with the erosion of these rights. Facilitators urged for the WG to continue in 2013 its comprehensive working agenda, in particular its new focus on promoting innovation as well as the on-going promotion of trade secret protection. Facilitators agreed also to seek ways to further engage other stakeholders in this transatlantic cooperation and to continue specific IPR discussions within the TEC activities related to SMEs.

HLRCF

The High Level Regulatory Cooperation Forum (HLRCF) met from 10 to 12 April in Washington D.C. with strong participation from a broad cross-section of stakeholders, including business associations and consumer groups. During a day-and-a-half public session, stakeholders presented their views on how to further regulatory cooperation towards greater compatibility of EU and U.S. regulations, reduce unnecessary barriers, and cut red tape. The audience included other stakeholders and representatives from EU and U.S. regulators, who appreciated the opportunity to receive input directly from the public that will help them identify both immediate and longer-term goals and potential mechanisms to accomplish them. Presentations given during the Forum can be found at the following link: http://www.uschamber.com/grc/presentations-us-eu-high-level-regulatory-cooperation-forum

Nanotechnology

The EU and the U.S. share a common strategic goal in this sector, namely, the responsible development of nanotechnology for the benefit of society. Both sides agree that we must continue our strong investments on environmental health and safety research in order to properly assess the potential benefits and risks of this technology. At an October 2012 video conference, senior U.S. and EU officials reviewed existing coordination mechanisms within and between the United States and the EU. They also exchanged information on their respective regulatory approaches to nanomaterials, and in particular, the Commission's Second Regulatory Review of Nanomaterials.

Facilitators called for additional video conferences to take place as soon as possible in 2013 to identify and review areas for detailed discussion, including how to improve public education on nanotech. All agreed that the U.S. Emerging Technologies Interagency Policy Coordination Committee (ETIPC) nanotechnology working group and the European Commission's Interservice Group on Nanotechnology should continue to serve as focal points for these discussions. In addition to welcoming the good bilateral regulatory and scientific cooperation, facilitators noted our cooperation in the OECD, ISO, and other multilateral fora, and further work is strongly encouraged in this sense

Cloud computing

Enabling the development of new cloud computing services is a policy priority both for the United States and EU. In November 2011 TEC principals acknowledged this and welcomed the launch of the Dialogue on Cloud Computing within the framework of the EU-U.S. Information Society Dialogue (ISD). The motivation for this collaboration is in particular to create a strong EU-U.S. bridge in order to facilitate the internationalisation of cloud service offer.

In December 2012 an EU-U.S. DVC was held which focused on understanding the respective regulatory approaches to cloud and on standards and certification aspects of the cloud. During the meeting, the EU presented its recently adopted Cloud Strategy and the United States also provided information on the draft of recommendations on contracts and service level agreements in the area of cloud computing.

Attention is currently focusing on public procurement in the cloud. The General Services Administration in the United States is sharing information regarding its efforts to facilitate the U.S. federal government adopting cloud solutions in public procurement. The EU is providing updates regarding the establishment of the “European Cloud Partnership.” Potential for further collaboration, particularly for SME’s, include discussing the contractual aspects of the cloud (ie. exchange the knowledge and experience in developing guidelines for the service level agreements for cloud computing). Cloud computing will also be discussed at the upcoming EU-U.S. Information Society Dialogue which will take place on 30 April in Washington.

Facilitators welcomed these discussions and noted their expectation that the upcoming ISD would identify a concrete action plan to be initiated still in 2013 so as to accelerate transatlantic, and international, cooperation in this rapidly evolving area.

Investment

Strengthening cooperation on investment policy issues of mutual interest and setting the standard for open, transparent and non-discriminatory international investment policies is a shared interest in the transatlantic relationship. The High Level Working Group on Investment held its second annual meeting on October 24, 2012, in Washington. The co-leads from DG Trade, the Department of State and USTR discussed global investment issues and challenges, as well as the status of their respective negotiations with third countries. Outreach efforts for the U.S.-EU Shared Investment Principles, which were launched in April 2012, and are designed to promote an open investment climate in third countries were also discussed. To date, Jordan, Morocco, and Taiwan have endorsed the principles.

Facilitators noted the good cooperation and asked to consider further how best to coordinate capital-led policies with our Missions in third countries as well as to continue promoting the Principles. Facilitators welcomed also the continuous exchange of information and work together on common issues of concern in priority third country issues. As part of this, they welcomed on-going reflection on how to strengthen cooperation between EU Delegations and U.S. embassies/missions in third countries on mutual concerns and notably, in the context of tackling and finding solutions to localization/local content requirements.

ICT Principles

In April 2011 the EU and UNITED STATES jointly developed a set of trade-related principles for the information and communication technology (ICT) services. During 2012 focus has been put into the implementation and the promotion of the Joint Principles, in particular in the framework of the WTO, where the Principles are part of the working programme of the WTO on electronic commerce.

In this framework, TEC Facilitators agreed that the upcoming June 2013 WTO CTS workshop on electronic commerce should be the next productive opportunity to share experience and promote the Principles within the WTO, as the workshop In addition, the UNITED STATES and EU are continuing to use them as a vehicle for discussion with third countries to engage them in this area. Taiwan is a recent example of a third country bilaterally endorsing the Principles. Facilitators agreed to focus particular attention to promoting the Principles in the ASEAN region, of common joint interest.

In addition to discussions on current work areas, a number of potential new TEC work streams were briefly presented. On these, facilitators asked their respective teams to deepen discussions and agree on joint and concrete recommendations to be considered at the next TEC meeting.



[1] Including DoC, DoE, USGS, HHS, OMB, OSTP and Commission services such as DG ENTR, DG TAXUD, DG SANCO, RTD and EEAS



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