The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) has submitted comments on jurisdictional issues that may be impeding regulatory compatibility between the U.S. and European Union. The comments were submitted in response to a request from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) and the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) to provide input to the U.S.-EU High Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth on potential actions that could promote greater U.S.-EU transatlantic regulatory compatibility.
ANSI's comments were addressed to the following recipients:
In the comments, Gary Kushnier, ANSI vice president for international policy, called for any future trade agreement between the EU and the U.S. to include Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT) provisions at least as strong as the TBT elements contained in the Korea-U.S. Free Trade Agreement (KORUS), which went into effect on March 15, 2012. Mr. Kushnier noted that the U.S. currently takes into consideration all TBT notification comments from all relevant stakeholders, in contrast to the EU, which does not usually consider such comments when they are submitted by interested parties from the private sector or from outside the EU. Mr. Kushnier argued that provisions similar to the language in KORUS allowing all WTO members and interested parties of members to make reasonable enquiries would be essential to any future U.S.-EU trade deal.
Mr. Kushnier also urged the EU to allow its regulators to make use of international standards when crafting regulations overseeing products in the EU market. Currently, the EU extends the presumption of compliance to products that meet requirements in selected standards developed by three European Standards Organizations (ESOs). Mr. Kushnier noted that U.S. law and policy pushes regulators to make use of voluntary consensus standards whenever possible, rather than penning standards that are unique to the government. He argued that extending this freedom to EU regulators would add needed flexibility and bring the U.S. and EU regulatory systems into closer alignment.
The full text of ANSI's comments is available here.
ANSI encourages other organizations and companies with an interest in these issues to incorporate its comments into their own submissions. For more information, please contact Leslie Mcdermott, ANSI program manager for international development (firstname.lastname@example.org).