Transatlantic Economic Council Facilitators' Report to Stakeholders
1. Senior officials from the U.S. Government and the European Commission gathered on November 30, 2016, to review progress and discuss new opportunities for collaboration under the Transatlantic Economic Council (TEC), which brings together officials from external trade, regulatory, commercial, and scientific agencies in the U.S. Government and the EU to support innovation and growth. Catherine Novelli, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment at the U.S. Department of State, and Jean-Luc Demarty, Director General of Trade for the European Commission, led the effort as senior facilitators.
2. Facilitators reviewed several work streams and noted key milestones in 2016. These successes demonstrate that the U.S. and the EU can work together to solve practical problems and build on our work to adapt to new challenges and technologies, in close consultation with stakeholders on both sides. For example the U.S. and EU have:
• Developed common standards, test procedures, and tools to promote universal compatibility and interoperability between electric vehicles, supply equipment, and electric power supply infrastructure. This has led to an expansion of work to include smart energy management (see paragraphs 6-11);
• Advanced work towards international standards on interoperability of patient health summaries, and established common education programs to support jobs in the health IT workforce. We will continue these efforts under the 2016 U.S.-EU E-Health Roadmap, encouraging new transatlantic regional and local partnerships to solve health IT challenges and identifying potential trade and commercial opportunities under the new Innovation workstream (see paragraphs 12-13);
• Promoted opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises to increase exports (see paragraphs 14-18); and
• Agreed to advance Ocean Cooperation to support the research program under the 2013 U.S.-EU-Canada Galway Statement, as well as economic cluster partnerships (see paragraphs 19-21).
Collectively, these represent long-term efforts that help contribute to the alignment of transatlantic standards and regulation and enable the growth of innovative, export-oriented industries in the United States and the EU.
3. Facilitators agreed that the variety and depth of technical cooperation prove the high value of the TEC as a way to encourage partnerships among a variety of agencies and stakeholders in the United States and the EU that support the innovation ecosystem. Both sides agreed to work on further public communication of TEC-led achievements in 2017.
4. The TEC will continue to give strategic direction, creativity, and visibility to our collaborative efforts in the coming year. Facilitators noted that there may be scope to do more using the TEC platform in future.
5. This report summarises the accomplishments of the TEC since the last meeting of the facilitators in November 2015. Stakeholders are invited to share their views with TEC subject leads directly. The United States and the EU will seek to consult stakeholders further during the course of 2017.
6. Both the United States and the EU have a shared interest in the rapid development of cost-efficient solutions to e-Mobility, which is one of the most rapidly growing and innovative areas of the transatlantic market. U.S.-EU cooperation on e-vehicle and smart grids was highlighted as a priority at the U.S.-EU Summit in March 2014, and its success was noted by the U.S.-EU Energy Council in May 2016. Interoperability within and between electric vehicles and smart grids is a key issue for the deployment and full exploitation of transport electrification, and the integration of renewable energy sources and storage (such as solar and natural gas power generation) into the grid. These are key elements for a decarbonised economy, linked with the Paris Accord commitments. Several European countries have launched initiatives aiming for the phase-out of fossil fuel-driven cars by 2030.
7. In 2011, a Letter of Intent was signed between the European Commission's Joint Research Centre and the U.S. Department of Energy, aiming to promote interoperability of electric vehicles and smart grids and to encourage continued scientific exchange. In particular, more focused cooperation on the development of globally-relevant, voluntary e-vehicle standards, global technical regulations in the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), and battery safety and transport were identified as key priorities of the cooperation for inclusion in a Work Plan.
8. Progress in 2016 on EU-U.S. e-vehicle and smart-grid interoperability cooperation includes:
a. Joint presentation of a Global Testing Device at the 2016 Hannover Fair, based on testing of 22 electric and hybrid vehicles for interoperability with 74 charging columns, and representing the first physical product of harmonised testing methodologies for electric-vehicle charging mechanisms between the U.S. and EU markets.
b. Joint organisation of an U.S.-EU Technical Symposium entitled "Transatlantic Planning Meeting of the EU/U.S. Electric Vehicles Interoperability Centre and Automotive Industry Advisors" at Argonne, USA, on October 11-13, 2016, where industry was given the opportunity to discuss the joint strategic priorities.
c. Direct collaboration on the UNECE Global Technical Regulation (GTR) regarding battery-management system functionality and joint recommendations for the UNECE GTR on hydrogen vehicles.
d. Agreement to prioritise a grid modernisation initiative and interoperability, and joint elaboration of three projects to do so, on a joint testing platform for smart grids and electric-vehicle charging, a joint interoperability testing methodology, and interconnection of real-time simulation platforms.
e. Cooperative testing between the U.S. DOE and EU JRC laboratories of e-vehicles at -30 to +50 degrees Celsius (e.g. on BMW i3 and on e-motorbike "Energica EGO").
f. Extensive testing of alternating current-charging devices
g. Installation of the EU JRC's electric and hybrid vehicle testing facility and of its e-mobility electromagnetic testing facility.
h. Continued close dialogue with stakeholders via scientific cooperation and participation in meetings such as the Transatlantic Business Council's Stakeholder Event.
9. A major achievement in 2016 was the conclusion of a Collaboration Arrangement between the U.S. DOE and the EU JRC in June. This arrangement will facilitate ambitious cooperation on battery testing, energy efficiency of electric and hybrid vehicles, interoperability of smart grids, electromagnetic compatibility and wider standardisation work, while consulting with industry.
10. Facilitators encouraged the U.S. DOE's Argonne National Laboratory and the JRC to continue their active cooperation to test and verify equipment, connectivity technologies, communication protocols, and standards.
11. The U.S. DOE and EU JRC confirmed their intention to expand cooperation with the industry to address key emerging technologies for vehicle charging and interactions with the grid. The DOE invited the EU to participate in the launch of a Smart Energy Plaza at Argonne in 2017, which will allow further cooperation on the harmonisation of interfaces behind-the-meter to enable smart-energy management in commercial and workplace environments.
12. Both the United States and the EU recognize the potential of health-related information and communications technology (ICT), referred to as e-Health, to contribute to meeting global health policy challenges. In December 2010, a Memorandum of Understanding was agreed between the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the EU on this subject, including development of a Roadmap guiding the activities of collaboration. Over the last four years, this Roadmap has focused on two high priority areas (work streams):
• Standards Development: HHS/ONC and DG CONNECT, through the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC), have cooperated on the establishment of concrete steps that can be taken to enable the exchange of patient summary records globally. An action plan was delineated to support the development and use of internationally recognised standards on patient summary templates.
• Workforce Development: HHS/ONC and DG CONNECT have supported development of stakeholder-driven solutions to common workforce training. This process resulted in the development of a free, on-line interactive assessment tool called “HITCOMP” (Health –IT Competencies). This tool can be used by employers, educators, managers, and job seekers in the e-Health field. It identifies a standard set of competencies and knowledge among all staff in healthcare. These solutions should help develop and expand skilled e-Health workforces both in the United States and Europe.
13. Facilitators commended the innovative approach to stakeholder engagement with respect to consultations on the revised roadmap, issued in July 2016. The new “Innovation” plank of the revised Roadmap will focus on fostering regional partnerships to solve similar Health IT challenges and identify potential trade and commercial partnership opportunities. Facilitators also noted that results in this sector could help inform larger policy initiatives for digital markets on both sides, demonstrating practical solutions that serve public health interests while respecting data security principles.
Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)
14. The United States and the EU recognise SMEs as critical motors of growth and job creation and key sources of innovation and entrepreneurship. Since 2011, the TEC has included a specific work stream with the objective to enhance transatlantic cooperation on issues relevant for U.S. and EU SMEs in order to increase trade and investment opportunities. As a result, seven workshops have taken place (most recently in Tallinn, Estonia in June 2016) to exchange best practices and find collaborative ways to fulfil that aim. Meetings gather U.S. and EU officials, along with Member States’ representatives, SME stakeholders, and business associations. Participants discuss concrete examples to stimulate growth in our SMEs in the context of a transatlantic market. Issues tabled include SME access to finance, IPR, entrepreneurship, access to standards, support to cluster policy, information sharing and SMEs internationalization.
15. The Cooperation Arrangement signed in 2015 between the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) International Trade Administration and the European Commission's DG GROW aims to facilitate the exchange of information on business events and joint networking opportunities for SMEs. It also envisages cooperation on specific SME events and relevant business partnering activities. Based on this, in 2016, the United States and EU worked together at several international fairs, notably in Las Vegas (Consumer Electronics Show, January) and Barcelona (Smart City Expo World Congress, November). The DOC Commercial Service and the Enterprise Europe Network carried out a mapping exercise of future international flagship events for the cooperation to continue.
16. Another Cooperation Arrangement on clusters was agreed in 2015 between DOC and DG GROW, to facilitate transatlantic linkages between U.S. and EU clusters and to better help SMEs find strategic partners in thematic areas of mutual interest. On this basis, an U.S.-EU Cluster Matchmaking Event was organised at the Hannover Trade Fair in April 2016. Facilitated by the European Cluster Collaboration Platform (ECCP) and the Enterprise Europe Network, the event brought together over 70 EU and U.S. clusters as well as Economic Development Organisations. U.S. and EU clusters were also mobilised in June 2016 for the Bio International Convention in San Francisco, which is the main world trade fair in the field of biotech and life sciences.
17. These closer contacts also contributed to the inclusion of an SME Chapter within the context of the TTIP negotiations to ensure full benefits for SMEs in the EU and United States, including by ensuring easy access for SMEs on both sides to comprehensive information about trading across the Atlantic.
18. Facilitators looked forward to the next SME workshop in 2017 which will be hosted by the United States.
19. Facilitators reviewed the substantial work that has taken place among the U.S., EU, and Canada under the 2013 Galway Statement, and the Atlantic Ocean Research Alliance (AORA) established under this, to perform research on sustainable uses of the Atlantic Ocean. The EU Directorate-General for Research and Innovation noted its investments reaching over €120 million in Horizon 2020 Blue Growth projects to advance this work. For example, the AtlantOS project aims to develop a more integrated, sustainable, and efficient system for observation of the Atlantic Ocean. Facilitators agreed to explore avenues for TEC cooperation in support of AORA, particularly in the Ecosystem Approaches to Ocean Health and Stressors Working Group, established in June 2016, as well as the ongoing work of the Atlantic Seabed Mapping International Working Group.
20. Facilitators also noted the importance of private-sector engagement on economic cluster partnership, bringing together research, business and governments in support of sustainable ocean economic activities on both sides of the Atlantic. The U.S. Department of Commerce noted their recent grant to the Maritime Alliance in San Diego, California, in support of export opportunities related to ocean cooperation in this sector.
21. Facilitators praised the close alignment of scientific priorities in this sector, such as on ocean observation and ecosystem management, based on which the TEC may facilitate U.S.-EU ocean cooperation efforts. The EU will host the Our Ocean Conference in Malta in October 2017. Facilitators believe this will be an opportunity to showcase U.S.-EU ocean cooperation in support of the blue economy and jobs.
22. The U.S. and EU confirmed their commitment to continue cooperating on bio-base products. Shared objectives include the development of information and guidance materials on the nature of bio-base products, data collection, and benchmarking, and eventually the development of aligned standards, in order to grow the transatlantic and global market for these products. Each side is paying particular attention to the needs of SMEs active in this sector.
23. Standards development bodies on both sides will organise a joint workshop in April 2017 in Toronto, Canada. Facilitators supported this and other engagements to help further align international standards in this area.
24. Facilitators noted the regular contacts between the U.S. Emerging Technologies Interagency Policy Coordination Committee and the EU Inter-Service Group on Nanotechnology, in the form of eight bi-annual videoconferences. The most recent one took place on September 22, 2016. These working group meetings allow the exchange of information about regulatory developments and research collaboration, and have helped to inform scientific and regulatory decision-making on both sides. The next nanotechnology dialogue is expected to take place in March 2017.
25. The U.S. and EU continue to be active in this area. The 2012 TEC Raw Materials Roadmap is based on five pillars: 1) trade cooperation; 2) raw materials data flows and information sharing; 3) resource efficiency; 4) research and development in substitution and product design; and 5) waste shipments.
26. The 6th meeting of the U.S., EU, and Japan critical materials group (which includes research and development of raw material substitutes) took place in Brussels, Belgium on November 29, 2016. In addition, the U.S. Geological Survey, the EU and its member states have been actively engaging on how to classify a mineral as critical. This will help align responses designed to avoid future disruptions of trade and manufacturing of products using these materials.