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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 5, 1997



With the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has sought to strengthen its partnership with the European Union (EU) as part of a broader effort to build a New Atlantic Community and a New Transatlantic Marketplace.

The U.S. and the EU share the goal of promoting a healthy, open commercial relationship and strong multilateral economic institutions. The U.S. supports greater European political and economic integration and ongoing EU efforts to enlarge to include central and east European and Baltic states. This process of integration and enlargement contributes to a more stable and prosperous Europe, an objective that is also an important U.S. national interest. It should proceed, however, without creating new trade barriers.

Since December 1995, the New Transatlantic Agenda has provided the framework for enhanced political and economic cooperation between the U.S. and the EU. The President meets semiannually with the EU leadership. At today's summit meetings, the U.S. and EU agreed on guidelines and a work plan to foster the growth and development of electronic commerce. This agreement signals a strong commitment on the part of the U.S. and EU leaders to encourage the development of this crucial and innovative commercial sector. The U.S. and EU signed a Science and Technology agreement to promote scientific exchange and blessed new initiatives to promote needed reform in Ukraine and combat illegal trafficking in women in Central Europe and the New Independent States.

In addition, since the last U.S.-EU Summit, negotiations on mutual recognition of testing procedures in telecommunications, pharmaceuticals, and electrical machinery, and other sectors, covering $50 billion in trade, were completed. The U.S. and EU are working closely with the Transatlantic Business Dialogue to address barriers to trade. Following the successful "Bridging the Atlantic" Conference, the U.S. and EU worked closely with NGOs to launch the Internet-based Transatlantic Information Exchange Service, an important digital library project, and an exchange program involving the U.S. Congress and European parliaments. The U.S. and EU signed a science and technology agreement that will promote closer cooperation between our scientists and provide new opportunities for collaboration on cutting-edge issues.

The EU is the United States' largest economic partner, its largest investment partner, and second-largest trading partner. Total U.S.-EU trade was $270 billion in 1996, up from $256 billion in 1995. This two-way trade supports six million jobs directly on both sides of the Atlantic and accounts for 44% of U.S. foreign direct investment. By the end of 1995, the EU had more than $315 billion invested in the United States, and the United States had more than $320 billion invested in the EU. Investment in Europe supports hundreds of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs. European companies are the number one investor in 41 of 50 U.S. States and number two in the remaining nine.

The EU also has taken on an increasingly important role in foreign affairs, especially in the area of humanitarian and development assistance. The EU's foreign aid budget for 1995-98 exceeds $36 billion. This assistance reinforces many important U.S. interests. For example, the EU is the largest donor of grant assistance to the countries of central and eastern Europe -- $7.3 billion during the period 1990-94 -- and has a similarly large assistance program for the former Soviet Union to help promote democracy and free market reforms. EU aid also supports U.S. efforts to bring stability and prosperity to the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, Albania, and Central Africa.