The European Institute held a meeting of the Transatlantic Roundtable on Trade on Friday, March 18th, with Hiddo Houben, Counselor and Head of the Trade and Agriculture Section at the Delegation of the European Union.  Mr. Houben briefed participants on the current state of EU-U.S. trade relations and highlighted opportunities for increased transatlantic cooperation  in an increasingly competitive global  environment.

 

In 2006 European Affairs carried an article by lawyer and former Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade Robert Herzstein titled “Don’t Expect the WTO to Resolve the Boeing-Airbus Dispute.” His article was prophetic: nearly five years later, fundamentally nothing has changed.

 

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In his recent article in European Affairs, Airbus consultant Charles Hamilton asserts that, five   years after the U.S. filed a case with the World Trade Organization against European government subsidies to Airbus, “nothing has changed.”

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A number of recent articles in the European and American press have highlighted the grave concern in Europe about reports of imports and sales, without licensing or labeling, of meat and milk derived from clones. Whereas approval and labeling is necessary for the sale of the meat of clones, the European Commission has taken a very lax view on milk and meat from the offspring of clones. Several European countries are already importing clone semen and embryos. Switzerland has acknowledged that clone-derived products are sold there (that can be exported to the EU) and the British have discovered in their newspapers that they may be unknowingly eating clone-derived meat and milk. There is currently no system for tracing the origin of these products, informing consumers of the nature of what they are buying or indeed tracking clone offspring as they mix into the gene pool.

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The European Institute hosted The Honorable Eric Hirschhorn, U.S. Under Secretary of Commerce for Industry and Security, who discussed the challenges facing the implementation of President Obama’s export control initiative and the implications for the transatlantic trade relationship.  Under Secretary Hirschhorn said that the President’s initiative will not only streamline export control processes but will also cut the number of items protected by current controls and require licenses for fewer components.  The Under Secretary emphasized that the reforms under consideration should not place any additional legal burden on U.S. companies, and that the Administration's goal is to make the process less cumbersome and more hospitable to growing the export market.  Under Secretary Hirschhorn remained hopeful that the U.S. Congress would take up the export control legislation this year, or at the latest, early next year.

Click here to read the full text of Under Secretary Hirschhorn's remarks.

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