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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release December 18, 1998

US-EU Statement on Cooperation in the Global Economy

The U.S. and the EU are engines for global economic growth. We share a common vision of a market-based global economy and particular responsibilities for promoting stability, continued growth and prosperity. We must lead the way in keeping markets open. A rules-based international trade system and a strengthened international financial system are necessary to ensure transparency and predictability and to maintain public confidence in the benefits of open economies. We are concerned about the serious social and economic impact of the financial crisis on many countries, and we will work together with them in the face of their major economic difficulties.

We are committed to promoting open markets through further broad-based liberalization, including through strengthening the multilateral trading system, and through the Transatlantic Economic Partnership (TEP) on which we agreed in London in May. We have drawn up, and started to implement, a Joint Action Plan to pursue this Partnership. It will contribute to further market opening and strengthening of links between the U.S. and EU economies in ways that support and point the way for further multilateral liberalization, while benefiting our peoples. The TEP initiative will enable us to launch bilateral negotiations for the further reduction of trade barriers. We have now set in train a regular and comprehensive dialogue between us on multilateral trade issues and future World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations. We attach high importance to the full respect of multilateral rules. We are determined to resolve trade disputes between us.

The Mutual Recognition Agreement, which entered into force December 1, is an example of how the U.S. and EU are striving to remove transatlantic barriers. The agreement covers six sectors and will save our private sectors as much as $1 billion annually. In reducing trade barriers, we re-affirm our commitment to preserving high levels of health, safety, consumer and environmental protection. We strongly support the current bilateral discussions aimed at achieving high standards of data privacy protection and avoiding transatlantic interruptions in exchanges of personal data. While continuing current efforts to avoid such interruptions, we would like to conclude the discussions successfully as soon as possible.

We intend to enhance our economic dialogue and cooperation, both bilaterally and in the context of international institutions and fora, to ensure that we act in a coherent and constructive manner.

We agree on the need to strengthen the international financial system and national financial sectors in order to capture the full benefits of international capital flows and global markets, minimize disruption and better protect the poorest and most vulnerable. It is important that all in the global economy play their part to promote sustainable growth and financial stability, by pursuing economic policies aimed at strengthening their national economy and enhancing their economic performance. We reiterate the importance of implementing the October 30 recommendations of G7 Leaders and G7 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors and look forward to additional proposals that they will develop, in consultation with other key countries, prior to the Cologne Summit.

We welcome the impending introduction of the Euro on January 1, 1999, which will be an event of historic significance. We look forward to a successful European Economic and Monetary Union that contributes to growth and to stability in the international monetary system.

We reaffirm our commitment to development cooperation, which has among its main objectives the fight against poverty, the creation of conditions favorable to economic growth and sustainable development, and the participation of the most vulnerable in this process. The prompt and generous U.S. and EU responses to the devastation caused by Hurricane Mitch in Central America are an example of our commitment. We will seek to ensure good coordination of international donor assistance to respond effectively to crises.

We call upon developing countries and economies in transition to continue the liberalization of trade and to develop clear, stable, and open regimes for investment. We urge the crisis-affected countries to promote sustainable recovery by pursuing full and proper economic restructuring. We support IMF conditionality as a means to promote sound macroeconomic policies. We welcome the fact that several governments have acted swiftly to minimize the negative impact of the crisis. We stress the importance of good governance and the respect for human rights, including core labor standards, efficient and transparent institutions, and more effective investment in education, training, and research. We will seek to ensure and support fuller participation of the developing countries in the WTO and in future multilateral trade negotiations, with a view to better integrating them into the world economic system. In particular, we will seek to improve the trading opportunities for the least developed countries. We will each continue to support regional integration efforts.

Senior officials will report to the next U.S.-EU Summit on the practical implementation of this cooperation on the global economy.