Fact Sheet released by the Bureau
of European and Canadian Affairs,
U.S. Department of State, May 26, 1998
The United States and the European Union (EU) enjoy an exceptionally broad and deep commonality of interests and values that form the basis of a close, mutually beneficial relationship. Since the end of the Cold War, the U.S. has worked intensively with its EU partners to strengthen the partnership as part of a broader effort to build a New Atlantic Community and a New Transatlantic Marketplace.
The U.S. and the EU share the goal of promoting a healthy, open commercial relationship and strong multilateral economic institutions. The U.S. supports greater European political and economic integration and ongoing EU efforts to enlarge to include central and east European states. We believe this process of integration and enlargement contributes to a more stable and prosperous Europe, just as NATO enlargement does. It should proceed, however, without creating new trade barriers.
The EU is the United States' largest economic partner, its largest investment partner, and second-largest trading partner. Total U.S.-EU trade was $298 billion in 1997, up from $270 billion in 1996. This two-way trade supports more than 6 million jobs on both sides of the Atlantic. By the end of 1996, the EU had more than $370 billion invested in the U.S., and the U.S. had more than $348 billion invested in the EU. Investment in Europe supports 1 out of 12 U.S. manufacturing jobs. European companies are the number-one investor in 41 U.S. states and rank second in the other nine.
The EU plays an increasingly important role in foreign affairs, especially in the area of humanitarian and development assistance. The EU's current 3-year foreign aid budget exceeds $36 billion. This assistance reinforces many important U.S. interests. For example, the EU is the largest donor of grant assistance to help promote democracy and free market reforms in the countries of central and eastern Europe. EU aid also is supporting U.S. efforts to bring stability and prosperity to troubled areas including the Middle East, the former Yugoslavia, Albania, and central Africa.
Since December 1995, the New Transatlantic Agenda (NTA) has provided the framework for enhanced political and economic cooperation between the U.S. and the EU. The President meets with the EU leadership at semiannual summits. The May 18 Summit in London highlighted recent U.S.-EU accomplishments under the United Kingdom's Presidency of the EU. Notably, the U.S. and EU:
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- Began discussions on a broad, new trade liberalization initiative.
- Registered strengthened cooperation on nonproliferation, counterterrorism, and related issues, including Caspian energy resources.
- Launched a joint initiative to promote nuclear safety in northwest Russia.
- Implemented an information campaign to combat trafficking in women in Ukraine and Poland.
- Announced the first Democracy and Civil Society Awards, recognizing the democracy-promoting efforts of NGOs and individuals from 26 central and east European countries and the New Independent States (NIS).
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