U.S. Statement at the Trade Policy Review of the European Union – Day 2
As delivered by David Bisbee, Deputy Permanent Representative, U.S. Mission to the WTO
June 7, 2023
We want to thank Director General Weyand and Ambassador Machado for their engagement and participation in this review and for the EU and EU Member states’ contribution to the important transparency work here at the WTO in TPRs and across the committees and bodies. The EU is a consistent and exemplary model in supporting the TPR process, and one of the few members that takes day two as seriously as day one.
We also want to thank the EU mission team, the individual Member States, and the delegation from Brussels here with us this week. We appreciate all the effort that goes into a review and all the internal coordination efforts required to respond to all the written questions, particularly for those of us who receive an extraordinary number of questions, so we want to thank you for everything you have done to make this review a success.
As we noted in day one, the EU and the United States share a vital strategic partnership, which we work constantly to maintain. While our friction points often make the headlines, it is important to recognize the overwhelming common ground that we share and to recognize our mutual commitment to continued deepening and advancement of our trade and investment partnership.
The majority of statements made on Monday reflected that nearly all Members are closely following how the EU positions itself in response to crisis and change. As noted on Monday, we look forward to working constructively with the EU to better understand the approach and impacts of climate and environmental policy on its trade policy and hope that the EU will work with the rest of the Membership with an open mind as we all seek to adapt trade policies to meet global challenges.
One area which has come up in the context of this review is our different approaches to dispute settlement under the WTO. In our day one statement we acknowledged the EU’s close cooperation in finding solutions to a number of longstanding trade-related disagreements between our governments, while we also acknowledged that litigated results have not materialized as promised on our side for some important issues. We believe that this demonstrates that no system is perfect, nor as black and white as some would want it to be. We look to the EU to be a constructive partner with us as we seek to reform the dispute settlement system in a way that meets the interests of all Members.
The United States would like to reiterate our interest in continuing to work together across the range of concerns we raised on day one. Those include improving adequate opportunities for stakeholders to offer meaningful comments on proposed regulations and decisions; addressing concerns regarding the hazard-based approach to regulations; resolving longstanding agricultural market access barriers, addressing stakeholder feedback regarding the cybersecurity certification scheme for cloud services, the exclusionary approach to standards related measures, including the conformity assessment framework; and ensuring uniform application of customs administration across EU member states.
We appreciate the remarks provided this morning in response to Members’ comments and concerns raised on day one. We hope that our collective reform efforts lead to a WTO that is fit for purpose as a forum for multilateral enagagement.
As we continue to work with the EU to find solutions to these issues, we look forward to continued close partnership with the EU and its member states in reforming the WTO. We appreciate the EU’s leadership across the full breadth of this organization including the important but often overlooked technical work on accessions and in the many Joint Statement Initiatives where it is involved. We look forward to continued partnership on dispute settlement reform, advancing the agenda of the WTO to include consideration of the environment, climate change, and state intervention in the global marketplace.
The United States’ offers its congratulations to the European Union on a successful Trade Policy Review.