EU-U.S. Economic Ties: Framework, Scope, and Magnitude [Updated June 12, 2008]   [open pdf - 97KB]

From the Summary: "The United States and the European Union (EU) economic relationship is the largest in the world -- and it is growing. The modern U.S.-European economic relationship has evolved since World War II, broadening as the six-member European Community expanded into the present 27-member European Union. The ties have also become more complex and interdependent, covering a growing number and type of trade and financial activities. […] Policy disputes arise between the United States and the EU generating tensions which sometimes lead to bilateral trade disputes. Yet, in spite of these disputes, the U.S.-EU economic relationship remains dynamic. It is a relationship that is likely to grow in importance assuming the trends toward globalization and the enlargement of the EU continue, forcing more trade and investment barriers to fall. [...] But increasing economic interdependence brings challenges as well as benefits. As the U.S. and EU economies continue to integrate, some sectors or firms will 'lose out' to increased competition and will resist the forces of change. Greater economic integration also challenges long-held notions of 'sovereignty,' as national or regional policies have extraterritorial impact. Similarly, accepted understanding of 'competition,' 'markets,' and other economic concepts are tested as national borders dissolve with closer integration of economies. U.S. and EU policymakers are likely to face the task of how to manage the increasingly complex bilateral economic relationship in ways that maximize benefits and keep frictions to a minimum, including developing new frameworks. For Members during the second session of the 110th Congress, it could mean weighing the benefits of greater economic integration against the costs to constituents in the context of overall U.S. national interests."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, RL30608
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