All of us at the State Department, from Secretary Clinton to our officers in the field, devote a lot of time and energy advocating for American business and helping support more good jobs for Americans here at home. A key aspect of this work is deepening our relationship with our partners in the European Union, which forms the largest economic bloc in the world. Last week, I participated in a meeting of the U.S.-EU Transatlantic Economic Council, or TEC, which helps strengthen U.S.-EU economic ties by promoting innovation, streamlining regulations, and eliminating barriers to trade and investment. The TEC brings together U.S. Cabinet members, EU Commissioners, as well as a wide range of experts for a comprehensive approach to increase cooperation across the Atlantic.
The focus on transatlantic relations now is very rightly on jobs. It should be no surprise that economic issues figure so prominently in the U.S.-EU relationship. Europe remains our largest economic partner and is enormously important to American jobs and prosperity. Last year, for example, U.S. merchandise exports to Europe were more than three times our exports to China.
We are particularly focused in our relationship with Europe on the jobs that will be created through increased innovation and critical investments in science, education, green energy, and infrastructure. This year, the promise and the challenge of electric vehicles -- or "e-mobility" -- is a particular focus of the TEC. Car-makers on both sides of the Atlantic pushed for TEC action so that our manufacturers can compete based on quality and value. The United States and European Union have now agreed on a roadmap covering the streamlining and convergence of technical standards, regulation, and research on vehicles, batteries, smart grids, and other related infrastructure to realize the potential of new clean technologies. We hope that in the coming months, the United States and European Union will agree on joint standards for e-mobility, giving us both a global edge in this emerging sector. We are also in final discussions to roll out "sister city" demonstration projects and joint U.S.-EU testing labs to support e-vehicles.
The work of the TEC goes on through the year, but high-level meetings can bring meaningful breakthroughs. For this meeting, the United States and European Union agreed on mutual recognition of trusted secure trader programs (the U.S. Customs-Trade Partnership against Terrorism). This will allow for one-time security registration for companies to allow them modified cargo screenings between the U.S. and EU member states. Secure trade has been a goal of the TEC since its founding. It is something that our business community has been seeking, to lower costs and increase efficient movement of cargo without compromising security.
The TEC made progress in many other areas as well.
Throughout the process, the input of the business communities on both sides of the Atlantic has been indispensable in helping to shape the TEC's priorities and provide valuable expertise and leadership. Thriving business relationships across the Atlantic create jobs in Europe and the United States and add to prosperity in both. Despite difficult fiscal challenges well known to all, we have made real progress on issues of central importance to our ability to lead the world in dynamic new technologies, setting high standards and ensuring that the role of fair competition does not fall victim to the forces of economic nationalism.