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European automakers welcome Obama’s announcement of comprehensive US-Euro trade talks; major focus on regulatory convergence

14 February 2013

In his State of the Union (SOTU) address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama announced the launch of talks on a comprehensive Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership with the European Union. The European Association of Automobile Manufacturers (ACEA) welcomes the talks, one of the elements of which will be addressing regulatory issues and non-tariff barriers such as different safety or environmental standards for cars.

The goal of the talks, said the EU in a statement, will be to move towards a more integrated transatlantic marketplace, noting that: “Currently, producers who want to sell their products on both sides of the Atlantic often need to pay and comply with procedures twice to get their products approved. The goal of this trade deal is to reduce unnecessary costs and delays for companies, while maintaining high levels of health, safety, consumer and environmental protection....The regulatory area is where the highest potential benefit lies with these trade negotiations.

The US and EU already have the largest bilateral relationship in the world, worth nearly €2 billion (US$2.7 billion) per day. The two economies represent half of the world’s GDP and a third of total trade flows.

In a speech at the North American International Auto Show in January, Matthias Wissmann, President of the VDA (Verband der Automobilindustrie, German Association of the Automotive Industry), said:

We expect to see especially positive effects from an agreement between the EU and the US. The negotiations are scheduled to start this spring. Here the most important aspect will be to dismantle regulatory barriers. At present this is still a vision: a joint EU-US market constituting around 40% of the global light vehicle market! Politicians in the US and Europe should make this vision their common aim in the negotiations. If we could determine common standards, i.e. move towards harmonization, which would release new economic energy on both continents. That would, furthermore, have an enormous impact on the rest of the world. There is special potential where completely new standards are defined, such as in the case of electric mobility. We should shape these rules jointly right from the outset.

In the aftermath of President Obama’s SOTU speech, the EU-US High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth (HLWG), established at the EU-US Summit in November 2011 to agree on terms and objectives, revealed its final recommendations, including:

The HLWG has reached the conclusion that a comprehensive agreement that addresses a broad range of bilateral trade and investment issues, including regulatory issues, and contributes to the development of global rules, would provide the most significant mutual benefit of the various options we have considered. We therefore recommend to Leaders that each side initiate as soon as possible the formal domestic procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a comprehensive trade and investment agreement.

A comprehensive agreement would include ambitious reciprocal market opening in goods, services, and investment, and would address the challenges and opportunities of modernizing trade rules and enhancing the compatibility of regulatory regimes.

—Final Report High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth

The HLWG concluded that negotiations on a comprehensive trade and investment agreement should aim to achieve ambitious outcomes in three broad areas:

  1. market access;
  2. regulatory issues and non-tariff barriers; and
  3. rules, principles, and new modes of cooperation to address shared global trade challenges and opportunities.

Both sides agree on the importance of putting processes and mechanisms in place to reduce costs associated with regulatory differences by promoting greater compatibility, including, where appropriate, harmonization of future regulations, and to resolve concerns and reduce burdens arising from existing regulations through equivalence, mutual recognition, or other agreed means, as appropriate.

—Final Report High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth

Specifically, the HLWG recommended that the two sides should seek to negotiate:

  • An ambitious “SPS-plus” chapter, including establishing an on-going mechanism for improved dialogue and cooperation on addressing bilateral sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) issues. The chapter will seek to build upon the key principles of the World Trade Organization (WTO) SPS Agreement, including the requirements that each side’s SPS measures be based on science and on international standards or scientific risk assessments, applied only to the extent necessary to protect human, animal, or plant life or health, and developed in a transparent manner, without undue delay.

  • An ambitious “TBT-plus” chapter, building on horizontal disciplines in the WTO Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), including establishing an ongoing mechanism for improved dialogue and cooperation for addressing bilateral TBT issues. The objectives of the chapter would be to yield greater openness, transparency, and convergence in regulatory approaches and requirements and related standards- development processes, as well as, inter alia, to reduce redundant and burdensome testing and certification requirements, promote confidence in our respective conformity assessment bodies, and enhance cooperation on conformity assessment and standardization issues globally.

  • Cross-cutting disciplines on regulatory coherence and transparency for the development and implementation of efficient, cost-effective, and more compatible regulations for goods and services, including early consultations on significant regulations, use of impact assessments, periodic review of existing regulatory measures, and application of good regulatory practices.

  • Provisions or annexes containing additional commitments or steps aimed at promoting regulatory compatibility in specific, mutually agreed goods and services sectors, with the objective of reducing costs stemming from regulatory differences in specific sectors, including consideration of approaches relating to regulatory harmonization, equivalence, or mutual recognition, where appropriate.

  • A framework for identifying opportunities for and guiding future regulatory cooperation, including provisions that provide an institutional basis for future progress.

A joint statement was later issued by President Barack Obama, European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso, highlighting their commitment to “making the relationship an even stronger driver of our prosperity.

Both parties will now envisage starting internal procedures leading to the actual launch of negotiations at the earliest possible moment. On the EU side, the European Commission will present draft negotiating directives to Council, on which the latter has to decide. This is scheduled to take place towards the second half of March. The US administration plans to send a notification to Congress triggering a 90-day layover period. Both sides aim to advance fast once negotiations are started.

February 14, 2013 in Europe, Market Background, Standards | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack (0)

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Trade agreements this verbose are meant to hide a covert agenda that many would find objectionable. All automobile manufacturing companies conspire with associated business interests in the practice of planned obsolescence and the establishment of automobiles as a transportation monopoly.

Addressing the destructive threat of global warming is incompatable with the expansion of global trade.

I think President Obama has done a great job not only "saving" the auto industry, but also by requiring vehicles to get twice as many miles per gallon. In the future, this will benefit everyone a great deal. I'm sure EU is trilled as the market was dying a few years ago.

The Big 3 restructured by surrendering the small car market to imports. Thus, American made cars now are luxury and muscle cars, vans and trucks that have higher profit margins. Even those however compete with counterpart imports. We should be investing in affordable Plug-in hybrids, but they are predicted to last years longer, thus replaced less frequently, something car companies are against.

Better late than never. Mr. Romney's campaign suggested entering into negotiations to commonize and internationalize auto standards and emissions regulations with other countries. I'm glad to see Mr. Obama adopting and pushing the good idea forward.

The problem was and is, that the EU toxic emissions standards are so primitive and lax, that Nafta cars and trucks would be degraded and made much more polluting, in doing so. But thanks to forthcoming EU6 regulations, due in 2015-16, Europe has finally really entered the game of toxic emission regulations. So even if they are only comparable to US toxic standards from the early 1980s, conforming to these EU regulations does require that EU cars finally have the types of emission equipment necessary, even if the implementations are very lax.

If American and EU toxic emission standards converge, Europe would have to rapidly advance its toxic emissions to (EU IX??) or so, not slatted for adoption until the late 2020s. CARB's proposed LEV III SULEV II requirements are the final end point for toxic emission regulations, anyway. The national standards will soon follow, to require sub T2B2 cleanliness.

When you can't distinguish emissions from various automotive propulsion systems, EVs, FCEV, or ICEs, and obtain only the same clean pristene air, no matter the source, we can close that chapter and declare Victory; and a problem completely solved, after some 45 years of hard, consistent effort.

The safety standards and crash ratings are much more ameanble to convergence though. Those could be unified reasonably rapidly.

OTOH, Europe has wasted lots of time on what are now becoming obvious, rather useless CO2 standards, other than for the obvious tax raising potential. But then Europe, unlike America, does actually emit net CO2 into the atmosphere.

As Science has improved in the 21st century, it is becoming very obvious that the temperature raising effects of CO2 are very tiny, way overestimated. Consequently they do not constitute much of a threat. Indeed the elevated CO2 is "greening the planet", as the NASA satellites have revealed, and that is a net positive benefit.

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/01/29/fox-promotes-debunked-claim-that-scientists-exa/192431

Indeed the elevated CO2 is "greening the planet", as the NASA satellites have revealed, and that is a net positive benefit.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g093lhtpEFo

http://www.skepticalscience.com/co2-is-plant-food-too-simple.html

BTW I can only guess here but I think the source of D's claim that NASA satellites have revealed the planet is getting greener is this; http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/Features/GlobalGarden/

Please read more of it than the title and note it is now ten years out of date and didn't include any data on 70% of the earth's surface - the oceans.

OK, one more: ramakrishna nemani, the lead scientist of that Global Garden study, has continued working. He has thousands of citations and I'm still going through them;
http://scholar.google.ca/citations?user=AZoQ20oAAAAJ&hl=en

...but this one should make my point; http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1029/2011GL046824/abstract

I know I'm beating the dead horse but D's "NASA satellites" are still up there and still looking; http://climatecrocks.com/2013/02/26/nasa-forest-canopy-in-eastern-us-impacted-by-warming/

ai vin,

I would appreciate if you cite actual scientific papers rather than the output of CAGW supporting advocationary organizations, publishing their political reports.

Then I would be willing to get into a intelligent conversation.

There is no doubt however that the world IS greener than it used to be.

Further there has been no runaway global warming in a period longer the the brief warming period that the scientific journals admit occurred from 1979-1995.

There is little global temperature correllation to the increased atmospheric CO2 measured since the 1980s.

Further no one has contradicted the the lack of scientific results to the non-existent tropical troposheric hot spot, the key signature of CO2 warming.

The North American continent sequesters every gram of natural and human created CO2 annualy, and also sequesters a considerable amount from Eurasia as well, carried on the prevailing trade winds. America has already created all effort needed to address CO2. All the wilderness bio-sequestration sites needed,and more have been created and are doing their jobs, as well as saving wildlife and providing recreation oportunities.


The North American Air Quality is now better than it has been for several hundred years, including the effects of slash-and-burn agricultural systems used by the neo-paleolithic Ameridian agriculturists, even in the Valley of Smokes in the LA Basin.

Automobiles are cleaner than they used to be thankfully, and even cleaner matching EVs, then was thought possible. They achieve better fuel economy too.

Automotive safety standards have improved over the past half century, in both North America and Europe and proven by the declining auto fatality statistics.

I see no reason not to beleive that progress is in fact occuring on virtually every front.

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