WASHINGTON, D.C.— As the United States and the European Union (EU) continue to negotiate an insurance agreement, House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-TX) and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D-MI) today sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew and United States Trade Representative Michael Froman expressing concerns that the EU’s new insurance regulations — known as Solvency II — are “unjustifiable trade barriers” that discriminate against U.S. companies. In the letter, Reps. Brady and Levin warn that these regulations could have negative consequences for American job creators and urge Secretary Lew and Ambassador Froman to address the EU’s discriminatory practices as they continue negotiations.
The Committee leaders wrote:
“We support your work to negotiate equivalence for the United States through the covered agreement. The successful and expeditious conclusion of these negotiations would generally provide greater market access for U.S. insurance providers operating in Europe, and the negotiations also provide an important opportunity to end the uncertainty and potentially significant business losses faced by our insurers because of the EU’s discriminatory treatment. If, however, it is not possible to quickly remove the less favorable treatment through the covered agreement negotiations, then we urge you to consider other ways to address this unjustifiable trade barrier, including the enforcement tools that we have available to us in our trade agreements.”
In November 2015, Treasury and USTR announced their intention to begin negotiating a covered agreement — or an agreement between the United States and one or more foreign governments, authorities, or regulatory entities regarding prudential measures with respect to insurance or reinsurance — to establish rules to ensure our insurance providers can compete on a level playing field. Under the Federal Insurance Office Act of 2010, the Secretary of the Treasury, through the Federal Insurance Office (FIO), and the United States Trade Representative are authorized to jointly negotiate a covered agreement. Negotiators have met three times this year, with the most recent meeting held last month in Brussels.
CLICK HERE to read the full letter.