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U.S., E.U. Expand Economic Ties

The United States and the European Union have agreed to expand economic ties by reducing regulatory burdens to transatlantic economic integration and by liberalizing air services. President George W. Bush commented on the plan:

"It is a statement of the importance of trade. It is a commitment to eliminating barriers to trade. It is a recognition that the closer that the United States and the E.U. become, the better off our people become."

As part of the commitment for closer economic integration, the U.S. and the E.U. will set up a Framework for Advancing Economic Integration to remove unnecessary regulatory differences in nearly forty areas, including medical devices, financial services, electrical equipment, chemicals, and automobile standards.

The U.S. and E-U already exchange more than two-billion dollars in goods and services every day. The U.S and the E-U also signed an historic agreement to liberalize air transportation. The Air Transport Agreement will replace all existing bilateral agreements between the U.S. and E-U member states. Once the accord is implemented in 2008, every qualified U.S. airline will be able to fly to every city in twenty-seven European Union member states. Every qualified E-U carrier will be able to fly to any city in the United States. This agreement, said U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, "ushers in an era of unprecedented liberalization for an area that encompasses sixty-percent of global civil aviation traffic."

U.S. and E-U officials also discussed countries of concern, including Iran. President Bush stressed the need to "send a unified message to the Iranians that their development of a nuclear weapons is unacceptable to peace."

Trans-Atlantic economic integration and the U.S.-E-U partnership are based on common values, in particular the deeply shared conviction that peace, prosperity, and human development depend on the protection of individual liberty, human rights, and the rule of law.