Policy Priorities for the New European Commission

Sunday, December 1, 2019 - 4:15pm

The economic ties between the United States and the European Union constitute the most important bilateral commercial relationship on Earth. Over 16 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic are created by two-way investment or rely on the $3.75 billion in two-way trade that crosses the ocean each day. This relationship, based on shared values of free enterprise, respect for the rule of law, and a time-tested reliance on democratic capitalism, has brought unprecedented peace and prosperity to the people of Europe and the United States for over seven decades.

Yet today the relationship is being tested on multiple fronts, both commercial and geostrategic. Rather than continuing to grow apart, it is incumbent upon both the U.S. and EU to move decisively to resolve differences where possible and to focus attention on shared opportunities. Both sides should work quickly to deepen our commercial ties, pursue effective sustainable development strategies, address China’s unfair practices, update the WTO, and ensure adherence to principles of non-discrimination and national treatment as we craft rules for a digitalizing global economy that is evolving at an unprecedented pace.

There are significant political divergences on key issues, to be sure, and the two sides frequently disagree on the tactics to address global challenges; but in fact, our policy objectives are largely in sync, as are our shared commercial interests. If the U.S. and the EU are to effectively address these issues, we must work together.

As the world’s largest business organization, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce stands ready to work with the new European Commission as it pursues an ambitious agenda for the next five years. This paper sets forth key priorities on a range of issues. First and foremost, it is essential that the EU and the U.S. recommit to an ambitious agenda to remove unnecessary hindrances to transatlantic trade and investment. In addition, policymakers in Brussels and across the member-states should prioritize strengthening the Single Market—including for services and the digital economy; promoting fair competition; and pursuing a balanced and effective sustainable development strategy. Robust intellectual property protection across all sectors, and closer regulatory cooperation in the life sciences sector, are also important priorities. Efforts to avoid unnecessary divergences in tax and defense policy and strengthening opportunities for small and medium-sized companies also are paramount. Maintaining close economic and strategic cooperation with the UK after Brexit will be important to preserve growth and stability. Initiatives to help promote effective workforce development opportunities to prepare workers for a fast-changing global economy must also be prioritized. Finally, through open and honest engagement across the Atlantic, the U.S. and EU can effectively tackle global challenges like China's state capitalist model and the urgent need to reform the World Trade Organization.