A German proposal for a greater transatlantic market between the US and the EU has been well-received in Washington. Along with other issues like global warming, it will be discussed at next Monday’s EU/US summit, says US ambassador to the EU, Claydon Boyden Gray. EuroNews caught up with him
EuroNews: Ambassador, welcome to EuroNews. For you, what are the main topics from a US point of view of the next EU/US summit?
Boyden Gray: “I think the main topic will be, unless there’s some foreign policy incident, the economic integration proposal that Chancellor Merkel has made on behalf of the EU, which we have accepted with some eagerness. So I think that will be the big issue.”
EuroNews: Why do you think this proposal by Chancellor Merkel is important?
Boyden Gray: “We need Doha. We need the WTO. We need the multilateral trade negotiations on the way for developing countries. That is absolutely essential and in no way effected by bilateral issues on regulation. Not on trade, which is normally considered in terms of tariffs and subsidies, but on regulation. And there the two continents need to reduce the hurdles to trade and investments, because we can improve our growth, probably more Europe than the US, but both will benefit enormously. Especially for deals with the Far East and the growth of these emerging countries.”
EuroNews: Do the US and the EU, when it comes to their relations, need something binding in order to have and to enhance their trade exchanges? To improve, let’s say.
Boyden Gray: “Once you make a regulation and you change it to make it more harmonized and less burdensome then it is binding. Can you bind yourself to make those binding changes? That’s very, very difficult.”
EuroNews: But from a legal point of view…
Boyden Gray: “No, you can’t commit yourself legally to something that you actually haven’t considered yet. But you can make a political commitment and that is what I think will come out of the summit. It will be a top-level political commitment that will be accountable. It will permit you and the media and the stakeholders around the country, around these two continents, to check on progress and to make sure that the officials do what is in the best interests of the consumers of both countries, both continents.”
EuroNews: The German proposal has not only an economic relevance, but also a major political relevance. What do you think about it?
Boyden Gray: “Well, I think that what Chancellor Merkel wants to do, and what President Barroso wants to do, and what the EU wants to do is to signal their intent to continue to deepen the relationship with the US, common values, its 60% of world GDP, 40% of world trade. It could do better. We should do more and this is a common front against those who don’t respect property rights, don’t respect patent rights, who would over-regulate, or who would do things in ways that are not consistent with the values that the two continents share and have done for centuries.”
EuroNews: When it comes to global warming, do you think the EU took in the last summit, the right commitments in order to tackle this phenomenon?
Boyden Gray: “Well, Europe has shown great leadership. I think they’ve done a better job in explaining themselves than we have in the US. But one point I think must be made, is that neither of us can do what we need to do without China and India and the emerging economies. And I think we are converging on the agreement that we must bring them into this issue. We must get them to begin to use the new technologies as we get them developed in the West.”
EuroNews: So are you saying that without China and India, these EU commitments are viable from an economic point of view?
Boyden Gray: “From a scientific point of view they won’t prove very much. I mean you can shut down the UK, turn off every light, shut down every car and just increase emissions in China, and that will blow away the savings from stopping England. So we need China. They are going to pass us as the biggest emitter probably this year, and in ten years it will be double what we do. They will blow past any changes or reductions that our two continents can achieve. And so we must get them aboard. The problem with leaving them out is that it doesn’t help scientifically, but it will also cost us jobs, we’ll force industry to relocate in China where costs are lower and then the pollution isn’t helping. In fact we inherit a lot of pollution from mainland China which blows into our state of California.”
EuroNews: Isn’t this topic going to be raised in some way during the summit?
Boyden Gray: “Absolutely. It will be a major topic. We have proposed a very aggressive program to displace gasoline with biofuels and more efficient cars. It’s a 20% displacement, twice as aggressive as what Europe has proposed. So I think we’re doing our part. What we need to do is to join forces now and make sure emerging economies do their part.”