The economic relations between European Union and the United
States have been far from smooth. Even during the Cold War, when
the two economic powers were supposed to be on the same side of the
Cold War divide, rows occurred that led to a serious political
tensions. The most famous was the American ban on export items
produced in the United States with regard to the turbines parts
which would be utilized in trans Siberian pipeline that would
function as an energy gateway between the Soviet Union and the
European economies in 1986. The ensuing thaw came only as a result
of the intensification of the Cold War and resolution of the
internal power struggle inside the State Department in favor of the
soft-liners in the United States.
More recently economic disputes have taken place between the EU
and the United States. The beef war over the hormones had lasted
for 20 years and only resolved with an EU Parliament decision that
authorized a higher new quota for the beef from North America that
has not been treated with growth hormones. A similar row had taken
place in 2012 when the Senate had passed a bill to counter the EU
initiative for carbon emission caps that would be taken off or
landing to Europe. The Senate decision had prohibited the American
airlines to comply with the EU decision which left them in a
situation where they might find themselves to pay fines amounting
to billions of dollars for violating the carbon emission caps
imposed by the EU.
Towards a Better Compliance and A Healthier Dispute
The free trade agreement between the EU and the United States
will not only create the largest single market in the world but at
the same time will provide the corporation that are running their
businesses across the Atlantic an ease in compliance in the sense
that the compliance in one jurisdiction will mean compliance in the
other. Especially, better compliance has ramifications for the
business sectors like automobiles in which the third parties have
to invest more for their designs to comply separately both with the
U.S and the EU regulations. The harmonization of the EU and U.S
regulations in such areas means reduction of costs for such
industries which will found an expression for the consumers in
cheaper prices and the creation of new jobs.
The issue of trade dispute resolution still remains to be one of
the most controversial topics in the negotiations between the two
blocks. The proposed term for the investors that will provide them
the opportunity to bring their cases in international arbitration
courts against the governments instead of local courts had created
an uproar both on the political level and on the level of the
people that perceived the issue as a concession to the corporations
and a further loss of national sovereignty. Especially offensive
was the association of such guarantees with the well advanced
economies like the EU and the United States which were used to be
associated with the developing world countries and designed as
safeguards against possible rouge actions by such states. The
pressure was so immense that the EU had to freeze negotiations on
the investment chapter earlier this year. It is still not clear how
the issue will be resolved but it is beneficial to re-frame the
issue focusing on shared interests rather than a discourse based on
a conflict between the consumers and the corporations.
The debate on the both sides of the Atlantic about the
Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement revolves
around the issues of how and who will benefit from the agreement.
It seems that the arguments that locate the benefits squarely on
the corporations or on the consumers alone are missing the common
interest that the consumers and the corporations share; lower
prices. Better compliance between the EU and U.S regulations in
broad range of business sectors will inevitably mean lower prices
for the consumers, as the producers will spare money and extra
effort to comply with these two jurisdictions' laws separately.
Moreover the international arbitration panels which would give the
investors an assurance for impartial trial will boost investments
across the Atlantic which will, at the end, mean expansion of the
economy and more jobs for these two crisis ridden economic
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