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AmCham EU Calls For US, EU To Champion Freer Trade

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The American Chamber of Commerce in Europe (AmCham EU) on March 5 released a new policy proposal for transatlantic economic cooperation, urging freer trade.

"Free trade is fundamental to free enterprise and is essential to expanding economic growth and improving the standards of living of people across the globe. [The US and the EU] should work together to eliminate barriers to free trade and facilitate the global movement of goods and services, information, capital, and investment in a rules-based free trade and investment system," said the report.

The proposal noted that while tariffs between the EU and US are low, they remain "stubbornly high" in certain sectors.

In previous negotiations for the Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership (TTIP) currently being discussed, the EU and US agreed to eliminate 97 percent of all remaining transatlantic tariffs – a move that AmCham EU continues to support. "Pressing ahead with these reductions – even outside of a comprehensive trade agreement – would enhance the competitiveness of both economies and send a message that the EU and the US remain committed to free trade and open markets," said the report.

It also recommended an increase in the de minimis threshold for customs duties and other taxes to USD800 (or a Euro equivalent), which it suggested could "liberate businesses of all sizes – and in particular small and medium-sized enterprises – from costly and administratively burdensome processes, increasing their capacity to trade internationally."

Finally, the agenda recommended the introduction of Mutual Recognition for Trusted Traders programs including the Customs-Trade Partnership Against Terrorism (C-TPAT, a supply chain security program from US Customs and Border Protection) and the EU's Authorized Economic Operator program based on the Customs-to-Business partnership introduced by the World Customs Organization (WCO).

"The two parties should work towards electronic pre-clearance based on advanced data for goods moving in either direction across the transatlantic border. In addition, leaders should seek to build on the existing WCO guidelines for the immediate release of consignments for which necessary customs information has already been provided, and adopt a common position to facilitate the movement of such goods between the EU and the US," said the report.