The Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers has told U.S. and European Union negotiating teams that the industry will sponsor a study to demonstrate the equivalence of American and European auto regulations. The Alliance, along with the European Automobile Manufacturers’ Association (ACEA) and the American Automotive Policy Council (AAPC), have been actively engaged with U.S. and E.U. governments to seek a vital regulatory harmonization component to a Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) agreement.

“The U.S. and Europe have the most advanced auto safety regulations in the world, and in many cases, the differences between the standards are very modest,” said Rob Strassburger, vice president for safety and harmonization at the Auto Alliance. “Mutual recognition of certain standards by the U.S. and E.U. governments will result in significant economic benefits while maintaining safety and environmental performance.”

Regulatory differences between the U.S. and E.U. can act as non-tariff barriers to trade, effectively putting a “trade tax” of 25 percent or more on products sold across the Atlantic, according to a recent European impact assessment, according to the Auto Alliance.

The study will be conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI), located in Ann Arbor, Mich., in partnership with SAFER, a transportation research center at Chalmers University, located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Researchers will examine the degree to which vehicles produced to U.S. safety standards can be expected to provide essentially equivalent real-world safety benefits when driven on European roadways as provided by vehicles produced to E.U. standards (and vice-versa for E.U.-certified vehicles when driven on U.S. roadways).

Harmonization is an economic vitality issue, according to the Auto Alliance. Compliance with diverse national environmental and vehicle safety standards imposes engineering, design, and manufacturing constraints that can raise costs to consumers.

Manufacturing is the most important sector for a strong economy, according to an Alliance opinion poll where 92 percent of those surveyed said manufacturing is “very” or “somewhat” important to a strong, modern economy, with only 4 percent saying it was not important.