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December 4, 2003
  Contact: Curt Cultice
(202) 482-3809

U.S. and EU Applaud New TABD Leadership

Brussels/Washington - U.S. Secretary of Commerce Donald L. Evans and EU Commissioner for Enterprise Erkki Liikanen expressed strong support for today's announcement that Douglas N. Daft, CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, and Niall FitzGerald, Chairman of Unilever PLC, will be co-chairs of the Transatlantic Business Dialogue (TABD) for 2004-5.

"The best way for the U.S. and Europe to improve economic growth is to create a more competitive and integrated marketplace," said Secretary Evans. "This cannot occur without continual dialogue between businesses and governments."

"I am pleased with Mr FitzGerald and Mr Daft taking the lead in the TABD process," said European Commissioner Liikanen. "The European Commission endorses this process and is committed to making it a success with concrete results." He continued: "Input from the TABD is key in our further efforts to reduce barriers to transatlantic trade and to increase market access in both directions. This is crucial for enhancing the competitiveness of our intertwined economies."

The first meeting of the TABD will be in Davos, Switzerland on the margins of the World Economic Forum January 21-25. CEO Daft and Chairman FitzGerald, in their official capacity as TABD chairmen, will meet with Secretary Evans on December 5, 2003 to discuss their vision for TABD.

Through the TABD, business leaders provide recommendations to the U.S. and EU government to improve the efficiency and competitiveness of the transatlantic marketplace. Since 1995, the TABD has played a crucial role in fostering the exchange of ideas and promoting constructive solutions in U.S.-EU issues. TABD focuses on ways to lower transaction costs for businesses and minimizing friction between the U.S. and EU governments. The United States and the European Union have an economic relationship of over $2 trillion, and two-way trade of approximately $370 billion.

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