Today (31-May-2013) Leinster House – under Ireland's EU Presidency – hosted a dialogue between Parliamentarians from both sides of the Atlantic. This EU-US forum, the Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue, supports discussion on trade matters and the exchange of views and experience on issues of common concern.
Minister Hayes, Junior Minister at the Department of Finance, addressed the forum on the subject of economic governance and transatlantic trade. He also touched on concerns arising on foot of recent US Senate discussions on the US tax code.
Opening the meeting, the chair on the EU delegation Euro-deputy Christian Ehler, noted that,
"The most important point on our agenda today, and a priority for the Irish EU Presidency, is upcoming negotiations on a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. As Legislators we encourage our executive branches to create a transatlantic market that has the potential to bring enormous benefits to producers and consumers on both sides of the Atlantic."
Discussion on the transatlantic trade relationship focused on how to unlock the enormous potential that such a Partnership offers. Recent European Commission research estimates that aligning half of the differences between EU and US trade systems would yield annual potential gains of €122 billion and €41 billion for the respective trading blocs. Minister Hayes added that,
“An ambitious Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership would effectively set the standard and strengthen trade relations worldwide.”
On the uncertainty and misconceptions relating to international tax matters Minister Hayes was clear that,
“The increased focus on taxation within the EU, and internationally at G8 and G20 level, is welcome. Assertions that Ireland is a tax haven are neither correct nor helpful. We must focus on the fact that tax policy internationally is behind the curve. Technological advances and globalisation have utterly changed the international landscape. This is the critical issue and Ireland is to the fore in concerted efforts to address this.”
On the Irish Presidency's progress advancing EU and Euro area economic governance and stability, Minister Hayes noted,
“The crucial issue here is that 12 months ago the debate was all about the death of the Euro. Today we have certainty on its future. Our Presidency has made good progress advancing Banking Union, in the area of financial services, in trade and to address the scourge of youth unemployment.”
In subsequent discussions US Congressman Bill Keating spoke of how “the biggest road block to growth and employment is our lack of investment in workforce education and development. We have fallen behind here, and this is an area where the EU and US can work together.” Euro-deputy Elmar Brok stressed that structural reforms are equally crucial to responding to the crisis of youth unemployment,
“It is important to note that, in certain Member States, significant levels of youth unemployment predated the crisis. This calls for better coordination in areas of, for example, vocational training as part of National Reform Programmes.”
The Transatlantic Legislators’ Dialogue meeting continues today and tomorrow in Dublin.
Background information on the Transatlantic Legislators' Dialogue is found at http://www.europarl.europa.eu/intcoop/tld/default_en.htm