U.S. and EU government regulators are seeking private sector recommendations on how U.S. and EU regulations, approval procedures and standards could be harmonized to reduce administrative burdens and operating costs for U.S.-EU trade in goods and services.  The  "U.S.-EU Working Group," established to help identify ways to increase bilateral trade and investment, hopes to use these suggestions to improve U.S.-EU regulatory cooperation and expand trade.

All companies engaged in goods or services trade that could benefit from improved U.S.-EU cooperation on regulatory and technical standards should be interested in this bilateral initiative.  Examples of sectors that may benefit from improved harmonization and coordination include: 

  • Emerging unregulated technologies, where developing common or interchangeable parts or devices, such as e-vehicle plugs, could facilitate bilateral trade
  • "Green technologies," e.g., solar, wind, smart grid, where developing common or harmonized regulatory standards could boost U.S.-EU trade in this evolving sector
  • Chemicals, where adopting a harmonized approach to data assessment could help simplify the registration process and assist companies in developing data portfolios
  • Agriculture, where harmonizing U.S. and EU food safety standards or pesticide residue levels could help avoid redundant inspections
  • Services, where mutually recognizing common qualifications for professional and technical services could encourage bilateral trade in services
  • Data protection, where cooperating on approaches that encourage the transfer and processing of data between the European Union and United States could help promote new services and technologies 

The U.S. and EU governments are requesting comments by October 31, 2012.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.