Boating Industries Team Up to Tackle Trans-Atlantic Trade
Buoyed by expanded trade talks, U.S. and European boating associations have partnered to reduce the regulatory costs and bureaucratic burdens sinking trans-Atlantic commerce.
As the economies of the United States and Europe continue to rebound, trade officials have been busy looking for ways to expand business dealings across the Atlantic.
Executives from the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) and its European counterpart, the European Boating Industry (EBI), recently signed a joint declaration pledging cooperation in drafting regulations that would make it easier for members of the boating industry to conduct international dealings. Their agreement comes amid ongoing talks between U.S. and European Union officials over the Transatlantic Trade & Investment Partnership (TTIP), which some say could be the world’s largest free trade deal when finalized.
“With similar boating cultures and notions of safety and environmental protection, regulatory differences are making trade complicated and expensive without bringing significant benefits to the final consumers,” EBI President Robert Marx said in a statement about the the partnership.
Thom Dammrich, president of the NMMA, echoed Marx’s sentiments on the pact between their groups, saying it brings representatives from both sides of the Atlantic “closer to global harmonization of safety and environmental standards, while promoting business growth and trade.”
Boating industry representatives recently submitted a working paper to EU and U.S. trade officials outlining the achievements they’d like to see from both sides during the TTIP negotiations, including establishing the “functional equivalence” for U.S.- and EU-marked products, which would essentially enable officials on both sides to assign them value.
Federal Shutdown Puts Negotiations on Hold
Though boating officials are encouraged by the partnership, they may have to wait to learn if trade officials adopt their recommendations. Thanks to the U.S. government shutdown, trade officials were forced to postpone a second round of talks scheduled to take place in Brussels starting October 7. Officials from the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative said they were unable to send their full negotiating team to the table.
“It is unfortunate that the Americans were forced to postpone the negotiation round,” EU Trade Commissioner Karel De Gucht was quoted as saying in a story for New Europe. “There is much work to be done and we are pursuing an ambitious timetable to realize the economic growth and new jobs the TTIP would create. Hopefully the U.S. side will soon be able to send a full negotiating team to Brussels. We stand ready to continue our work.”