Current portal location

Website content

Countries and regions

United States

United States

On 14 June, Member States gave the European Commission the green light to start trade and investment talks with the United States.

The launch builds on the report of a High-Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth, published in February 2013. In March 2013, the European Commission proposed negotiating guidelines to the Member States and released an impact assessment on the future of the EU-US trade relations and an in-depth independent study on the potential effects of the EU-US TTIP.

When negotiations are completed, this EU-US agreement would be the biggest bilateral trade deal ever negotiated – and it could add around 0.5% to the EU's annual economic output.

The European Union and the United States have the largest bilateral trade relationship and enjoy the most integrated economic relationship in the world.

Trade picture

  • Total US investment in the EU is three times higher than in all of Asia.
  • EU investment in the US is around eight times the amount of EU investment in India and China together.
  • EU and US investments are the real driver of the transatlantic relationship, contributing to growth and jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. It is estimated that a third of the trade across the Atlantic actually consists of intra-company transfers.
  • The transatlantic relationship also defines the shape of the global economy as a whole. Either the EU or the US is the largest trade and investment partner for almost all other countries in the global economy.
  • The EU and the US economies account together for about half the entire world GDP and for nearly a third of world trade flows.

EU-USA "trade in goods" statistics

Trade in goods 2011-2013, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2011 192.0 264.1 72.1
2012 206.5 293.2 86.7
2013 196.1 288.3 92.2

EU-USA "trade in services" statistics

Trade in services 2011-2013, € billions
Year EU imports EU exports Balance
2011 141.1 148.1 6.9
2012 148.9 163.0 14.1
2013 146.1 158.8 12.7

Foreign direct investment

Foreign direct investment 2012, € billions
Year Inward stocks Outward stocks Balance
2012 1536.4 1655.0 118.6

More statistics on United States

EU and United States

Given the low average tariffs (under 3%), the key to unlocking this potential lies in the tackling of non-tariff barriers. These consist mainly of customs procedures and behind the border regulatory restrictions.

The non-tariff barriers come from diverging regulatory systems (standards definitions notably), but also other non-tariff measures, such as those related to certain aspects of security or consumer protection.

The Transatlantic Economic Council was set up in 2007 to guide and stimulate the work on transatlantic economic convergence. The TEC is currently the only EU-US high level forum in which economic issues can be discussed in a coherent and coordinated manner. It brings together a wide range of ongoing economic cooperation activities in issues of mutual interest and provides for a platform to give political guidance and direction to this work. At the same time, the TEC provides for a political forum for discussing strategic global economic questions.

The TEC brings together those Members of the European Commission and US Cabinet Members who carry the political responsibility for closer economic ties. Three "advisory" groups have been set up to help guide the work of the TEC:

In addition, civil society at large is consulted on the TEC's objectives and debriefed after its annual meetings.

At the 28 November 2011 EU-US Summit meeting, Leaders directed the Transatlantic Economic Council to establish a High-Level Working Group on Jobs and Growth, led by the EU Trade Commissioner and the US Trade Representative.

The High Level Working Group was tasked to identify policies and measures to increase EU-US trade and investment to support mutually beneficial job creation, economic growth, and international competitiveness. Leaders asked the HLWG to work closely with all public and private sector stakeholder groups, and to draw on existing dialogues and mechanisms, as appropriate.

The Working Group has provided an interim report to Leaders on the status of its work in June 2012 and a final report on 13 February 2013. The HLWG reached the conclusion that a comprehensive agreement that addresses a broad range of bilateral trade and investment issues, including regulatory issues, and which contributes to the development of global rules, would provide the most significant mutual benefit of the various options considered. The EU and the US presidents endorsed the recommendation and announced that each side will initiate the internal procedures necessary to launch negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership agreement.

Read the press statement

Inevitably for two economies of such size with such a high volume of trade, the EU and the US encounter a number of trade disputes which are handled through the dispute settlement mechanism of the WTO.

Although they tend to grab headlines, these disputes currently only affect some 2% of EU-US trade.

Trading with the United States