American Shipper

Transatlantic trade policy bodies merge

   Representatives from European-American Business Council (EABC) and TransAtlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) said Wednesday that the two organizations will merge to form the Transatlantic Business Council (TBC), effective Jan. 1.
   “TBC creates a stronger business voice for its 90-plus member companies,” the two organizations said in a statement. “It will advocate for the timely development of a comprehensive transatlantic agreement that further liberalizes trade and investment and promotes greater regulatory convergence, and will continue engagement with forums such as the U.S.-EU High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth (HLWG).”
   Potential economic gains in excess of $200 billion for both markets have been estimated should a new agreement be reached. The transatlantic economy employs up to 15 million workers, with roughly $2 billion in goods and services crossing the Atlantic everyday.
   TABD will continue to function as a distinct program within the TBC, preserving its role as the official business advisor to the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC). TEC was set up by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President George W. Bush and Spanish President Jose Manuel Barroso, following the 2007 U.S.-EU Summit to advance transatlantic economic cooperation.
   “The newly established Transatlantic Business Council combines the best of both organizations and will provide the transatlantic business community with a single, stronger voice advocating for transatlantic cooperation,” said TABD Co-Chair (U.S.) Jim Quigley. “This is a win-win for both member companies and our government stakeholders.”
   The final report of the High Level Working Group is due to be released at the end of this year, with TBC member companies strongly supporting a recommendation for beginning negotiations on an ambitious and comprehensive transatlantic trade and investment agreement as soon as possible.
   “A strong and unified business voice is especially important at this time of enormous economic challenges and of great opportunities to achieve the goal of a barrier-free transatlantic marketplace,” said EABC Co-Chair (Europe) Amb. Hugo Paemen.
   Tim Bennett has been appointed as the new organization’s director-general. – Eric Johnson