Success stories in transatlantic cooperation

Germany and Europe have a long track record of close cooperation on economic matters – both bilaterally and in international organisations and forums such as the World Trade Organization (WTO), the OECD, and the G7. As highly developed economies with high legal security, consumer protection, and social standards, the European Union and the United States can also be pacemakers for other markets. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) should further deepen and institutionalise the cooperation.

Transatlantic cooperation has achieved various success stories, demonstrating that trade can be facilitated and economic growth boosted without jeopardizing protection for consumers, workers, and the environment. In fact, by working together to raise standards, the European Union and the United States can play the role of a global pacemaker.

Organic produce

In 2012 the European Union and the United States agreed to mutually recognise their organic produce certifications. This significantly expanded the market for German producers. One precondition for the agreement was establishing the compatibility of the respective regulations, control measures, labelling rules, and certification requirements.

Aviation                                                                                        

In their 2011 Agreement on Cooperation in the Regulation of Civil Aviation Safety, the European Union and the United States agreed on the mutual recognition of certification in the design, manufacture, and maintenance of aviation products such as aircrafts. Another agreement established the mutual recognition of security rules for screening air freight. Now European airlines flying to the United States must only observe the EU regulations for screening freight. These agreements significantly reduce technical and bureaucratic expenses and thus reduce aviation costs.

Electro mobility

In 2011, leading European and U.S. car manufacturers (including Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, and General Motors) agreed on the CCS (Combined Charging System) standard for electric vehicles. CCS is a universal system that requires just one interface on the vehicle, with which all available charging systems can operate. This improves planning security for car manufacturers and traffic planners and expands the incentives for innovation and investment in the field of electro mobility.

Toy safety

Both the European Union and the United States prohibit the use of particular toxic and hazardous chemicals in toy manufacture. Representatives of both have joined together to advise and train staff of the Chinese General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ). By ensuring that Chinese toy production complies with the standards for bringing products to market in the European Union and the United States, this has strengthened trade relations with China while significantly improving the level of consumer protection.

Conclusion

These success stories demonstrate that close transatlantic cooperation has a positive effect on trade, and can strengthen consumer protection and product safety. However, in the past many transatlantic initiatives have failed due to lack of political support or of binding mechanisms. Now, arrangements for regulatory cooperation should be agreed on in TTIP to intensify existing cooperation and to make this cooperation more binding. That would enable many more success stories. It is critical that high European standards of protection are preserved in this process.